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March 21, 2006

Box Score

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Tarence Kinsey hit three free throws in the final 26 seconds of overtime and South Carolina beat Florida State 69-68 Tuesday night to keep alive its hopes of repeating as the National Invitation Tournament champions.

Todd Galloway’s two free throws got Florida State within one with 5 seconds left and the Seminoles stole the inbounds pass, but Galloway’s desperation jumper was blocked by Rocky Trice as the game ended.

The Gamecocks (20-15) thought they had the game won in regulation when Renaldo Balkman banked in a short jumper at the buzzer with the game tied at 58, but officials ruled it was too late.

Balkman’s tip-in and Tre Kelley’s layup gave South Carolina a quick 62-58 lead in the overtime but Alexander Johnson hit a pair of free throws and Al Thornton scored underneath to tie it at 62.

Kelley then drove the lane again for a layup and South Carolina didn’t trail again.

The Gamecocks advance to meet the winner of Cincinnati-Minnesota on Thursday with a spot in the NIT semifinals in New York at stake. They are trying to become the first team to win consecutive NIT titles since St. John’s in 1943 and 1944.

Kelley scored 17 points for the Gamecocks. Kinsey finished with 14 points, Trice 12, and Brandon Wallace 11 while Balkman had eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

Johnson led Florida State (20-10) with 22 points and 10 rebounds while Isaiah Swann scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half.