South Carolina advances in NCAA tournament

Seventh-seeded South Carolina kept its run going in the NCAA Tournament Sunday with a 77-70 victory over No. 4 seed Florida to reach the Final Four.

Waiting for the Gamecocks (26-10) in Saturday’s national semifinals will be No. 1 seed Gonzaga, which beat 11th-seeded Xavier 83-59 in West Region final.

The other national semifinal game will pit No. 3 seed Oregon versus the winner of Sunday’s South Region final between No. 1 North Carolina and No. 2 Kentucky.

The Elite Eight victory continues a Cinderella run for South Carolina, which upset second-seeded Duke in the second round before beating third-seeded Baylor by 20 points.

The Gamecocks finished fourth in the SEC with a 12-6 conference record, two spots behind Florida. They scuffled through the end of their season, losing six out of nine games, including their SEC tournament opener against Alabama.

After winning easily in its first two tournament games against East Tennessee State and Virginia, Florida needed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to get past the eighth-seeded Wisconsin Badgers 84-83 in Friday night’s Sweet 16 game.

The Gators (27-9) finished second in the SEC regular season standings behind Kentucky. They entered the NCAA Tournament on a slump of sorts, losing three out of four games including two straight in the course of a week to Vanderbilt. The second of those losses to Vandy came in their SEC tournament opener.