South Carolina pulls off a shocker in Honolulu

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Out of the middle of nowhere, out on the islands, South Carolina rose up to knock off previously unbeaten Saint Mary’s 78-71 in the Diamond Head Classic last night in Honolulu.

Tyrone Johnson scored 16 points to lead four Gamecocks in double figures as South Carolina shot a sizzling 58.3 percent from the floor. Johnson made six of nine shots. Laimonas Chatkevicius was five-of-six, Duane Notice was four-of-five and Demetrius Henry was three-of-five.

It was a rare impressive non-conference win for the SEC and an even better — not to mention surprising — one for Frank Martin’s club, which entered the game with a 2-5 mark.

In fact, South Carolina had lost three straight games — 79-52 at Oklahoma State, 86-68 at home to Manhattan and 74-68 at home to USC-Upstate.

Meanwhile, Saint Mary’s had won nine straight, including an 82-74 win over Boise State and a victory over a pretty good Akron team.

Coming into the game, Jeff Sagarin’s computer ranked Saint Mary’s at No. 22 and South Carolina at No. 160. And the Gaels were 28th in the latest AP rankings.

South Carolina now plays Boise State, a winner over Hawaii last night, at 9 p.m. on ESPN2 in a semifinal game of the tournament.

In the game before South Carolina-Saint Mary’s, President Obama and family showed up to watch Michelle’s brother Craig Robinson, the head coach at Oregon State, lose 83-71 to Akron. The President is spending the holidays in Hawaii.

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Photos of South Carolina-Saint Mary’s and President Obama and family at Oregon State-Akron by Associated Press.

SEC men’s basketball results over weekend

Sunday, December 22

  • South Carolina 78, Saint Mary’s (CA) 71
  • Mississippi St. 71, USF 66
  • Mercer 79, Ole Miss 76
  • Auburn 77, Boston College 67

Saturday, December 21

  • Arkansas 72, South Alabama 60
  • Oklahoma 64, Texas A&M 52
  • Xavier 77, Alabama 74
  • Illinois 65, Missouri 64
  • LSU 86, UAB 63
  • Florida 66, Fresno St. 49
  • Vanderbilt 76, Georgia Tech 63
  • Georgia 65, W. Carolina 63
  • Kentucky 93, Belmont 80

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