Those nearly forgotten dancing shoes are made of glass.
South Carolina shocked everyone but its thousands of garnet-clad faithful at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Sunday by beating second-seeded Duke 88-81, punching the Gamecocks' ticket to New York and the Sweet 16. Following its first NCAA Tournament win since 1973 on Friday, South Carolina (24-10) overcame an icy shooting first half to sock the ACC champions out of the tournament.
It's the first time USC has ever won consecutive NCAA Tournament games. The seventh-seed Gamecocks will play No. 3 Baylor on Friday with the winner advancing to the Elite Eight.
"Unbelievably proud of my guys," coach Frank Martin said. "They put up with me, which is not easy to do, and they've become mentally tough as mentally tough can be. For us to be able to play against a team like Duke and play so well on the big stage says a lot about the character of our team."
Duke (28-9) was the favorite to win the national championship and for a half, led the Gamecocks as USC couldn't buy a basket. The Gamecocks, who broke that lengthy tournament streak by punishing Marquette in the lane, had five shots blocked in the first 10 minutes and their outside shooting was as spotty as it has been all season.
Still, the marvelous defense that became USC's hallmark was doing a number on the Blue Devils (28-9), turnovers and fouls mounting. Sharpshooter Luke Kennard didn't have a point in the first half and with point guard Frank Jackson in foul trouble, leaving the duties to Grayson Allen, USC smelled an opportunity.
All they needed was to hit shots. And suddenly, the Gamecocks did.
Chris Silva started it with two dunks and the rest of the Gamecocks were energized. A team that was 7-of-35 from the floor in the first 20 minutes was shooting over 70 percent for most of the second.
Duke's arsenal of weapons never got clicking while USC was firing and hitting. The Gamecocks scored an incredible 65 points in the second half (they had 53 in their only SEC tournament game) as they went ahead to stay.
Sindarius Thornwell led the team with 24 points while Duane Notice and Chris Silva had 17 each. Rakym Felder, who played a vital role by replacing P.J. Dozier when he fouled out in the last five minutes, scored 15.
USC heads to New York with no plans of stopping the freight train. The Gamecocks are one of 16 teams left playing for the national championship.
"The goal is to win it all," Thornwell said, "If you're in it, why not win it all?"