Honolulu, HI (SportsNetwork.com) - Tyrone Johnson scored 16 points, leading four players in double figures, as the South Carolina Gamecocks stunned the Saint Mary's-CA Gaels, 78-71, in the opening round of the annual Diamond Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Sindariou Thornwell accounted for 13 points for the Gamecocks (3-5), followed by Laimon Chatkevicius and Duane Notice with 12 and 11 points, respectively, as they snapped a three-game slide.
The Gaels (9-1) were paced by Brad Waldow with a game-high 20 points, while Beau Levesque tallied 15 points and a team-best eight rebounds. Stephen Holt tacked on 14 points and six assists and James Walker III another 13 points in the setback.
SMC appeared to be out of sync in the first half, trailing by as many as 12 points in the period as it shot just 9-of-31 (.290) from the floor, en route to a 33-27 deficit at the break.
The Gaels suffered their lowest-scoring first half of the season as Waldow failed to register a single made field goal through the first 20 minutes of play.
In the second half SMC picked up the pace with 56.5 percent accuracy from the floor, as well as 15-of-17 at the free-throw line, but at the same time South Carolina was hitting on a sizzling 61.5 percent from the floor in order to seal the unlikely win.
Saint Mary's finished the meeting 7-of-19 behind the 3-point line and was outscored in the paint by a 40-28 margin as well. It also didn't help the Gaels that their reserves were outscored by the USC backups, 26-5.
With the victory the Gamecocks will now take on Boise State in the semifinal round of the tournament on Monday.