Kacinas lifts South Carolina past Hofstra, 94-84
ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) Mindaugas Kacinas may not want to leave the Virgin Islands. Given the way he's played so far in the tropics, that's completely understandable.
Kacinas scored a career-best 23 points in South Carolina's win over DePaul in the islands on Friday, and stayed hot to power his team into the final. He became the first South Carolina player to make at least 90 percent of his shots in a game (minimum 10 attempts) since Tony Kitchings went 9 for 10 in a win over Clemson on Dec. 9, 2000.
Juan'ya Green led all scorers with 28 points and added seven assists for Hofstra (3-1), which knocked off Florida State earlier in the tournament. Ameen Tanksley scored 18 and Brian Bernardi added 14 for the Pride, who meet Indiana State for third place on Monday.
Hofstra trailed by 11 early in the second half before taking a 65-64 lead with 11:14 remaining after a 3-pointer by Bernardi. But South Carolina - the cardiac Gamecocks so far this season - put together some more second-half magic.
Immediately after Bernardi's 3-pointer, South Carolina answered with a 22-7 run to not only reclaim the lead but open a 14-point edge. From there, the Gamecocks were never in trouble again.
South Carolina has had a big second-half run in all four of its games so far: A 13-3 spurt against Norfolk State, a 19-4 run against Oral Roberts, a 15-4 run against DePaul and then the big burst that helped them down the Pride on Sunday.
Hofstra: The Pride shot 51 percent; they had been 13-0 since December 2012 when making more than half their shots in a game. ... Bernardi was 4 for 6 from 3-point range, and is now 18 for 27 from deep this season.
South Carolina: Sindarius Thornwell had 14 points and nine rebounds, while PJ Dozier added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Gamecocks. Thornwell also had six assists. ... The Gamecocks won despite getting outscored 51-15 from 3-point range.
Hofstra: Vs. Indiana State on Monday in Paradise Jam consolation game.
South Carolina: Vs. Tulsa on Monday in Paradise Jam championship game.