Freshman guard David Duke erupted for a career-high 20 points on 8-for-15 shooting, and Providence held on for a 76-67 win over South Carolina on a neutral court at the Naismith Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament on Saturday in Uncasville, Conn.
Junior guard Alpha Diallo added 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for Providence (3-1), which advanced to play No. 18 Michigan on Sunday afternoon in the tournament championship game.
Guard A.J. Reeves added 10 points, and reserve center Nate Watson finished with nine points and eight rebounds.
Reserve guard Hassani Gravett scored 14 points off the bench to lead South Carolina (2-2). T.J. Moss had 12 points and Justin Minaya and A.J. Lawson added 10 apiece for the Gamecocks.
Providence pulled away with a 49-32 advantage in the second half. The Gamecocks were hampered by foul trouble to senior forward Chris Silva, who finished with only six points and three rebounds.
South Carolina called timeout to regroup after a fast-break slam dunk by Duke put Providence ahead 54-49 with 8:30 left. Diallo fed a bounce pass to Duke, who leaped for a one-handed dunk that elicited a loud ovation from the crowd.
Providence erased a nine-point deficit with a 10-0 run midway through the second half to grab a 44-43 lead. Diallo again facilitated the Friars’ offense as he grabbed a rebound and pushed a pass to Duke, who made a fast-break layup.
South Carolina led 35-27 at the break. The Gamecocks closed the half on a 19-4 run that included back-to-back 3-pointers from Gravett, who capitalized on passes from teammates T.J. Moss and A.J. Lawson.
Duke hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the first half to pull the Friars within eight points.
A 7-0 run gave Providence a 23-16 lead midway through the first half. Junior forward Kalif Young punctuated the run with a layup and a free throw for a three-point conversion.
Providence head coach Ed Cooley moved into a tie with Al McClellan for fourth place in school history with his 147th victory. The program’s all-time leader is Joe Mullaney with 319 wins.
—Field Level Media