GREENVILLE, S.C. -- South Carolina put on a second-half show for the home-state fans Friday night.
Sindarius Thornwell scored 29 points, leading a big second half for the seventh-seeded Gamecocks in a 93-73 victory over 10th-seeded Marquette in an NCAA Tournament East Region first-round game at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
"I knew if we could build it and play basketball how I like to play, our fans would love it, and it's starting to happen," South Carolina coach Frank Martin said.
South Carolina was playing in its first NCAA Tournament game since 2004, winning its first tourney game since 1973.
The Gamecocks, who were spurred on by a partisan crowd, play Sunday night in the second round against second-seeded Duke (28-8), which ousted Troy with an 87-65 decision in the first game of the evening.
P.J. Dozier pumped in 21 points and Duane Notice and Chris Silva each added 10 points for South Carolina (23-10).
The atmosphere was welcoming for the Gamecocks.
"It's amazing," Thornwell said. "The first thing is just to make it to the NCAA Tournament. It's a blessing to be able to play in front of our fans."
Martin said the Gamecocks worked for a moment like the one they experienced in their NCAA opener.
"I knew we had to get past the initial hit of being nervous," Martin said. "As the first half went on, we settled down."
JaJuan Johnson scored 16 points, Andrew Rowsey and Markus Howard both had 13 points and Sam Hauser contributed 12 points for Marquette (19-13), which ended up with its most lopsided loss of the season.
"It was a good year," Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. "It was a tough ending."
South Carolina appeared primed to deliver a knockout blow a couple of times in the second half, but Marquette had enough answers to stay within range.
Thornwell's 3-pointer made it 76-67 with less than seven minutes to play, with that basket perhaps making the biggest impact.
But attacking also seemed to help the Gamecocks.
"We had to put pressure on the rim," Dozier said.
Thornwell has scored at least 20 points in nine of the past 10 games.
South Carolina used a 13-0 run that wiped out a 49-44 deficit early in the second half.
"They were allowed to play very physical tonight, and I think over the course of the game, that wore us down," Wojciechowski said. "You have to be physically and mentally tough to win any NCAA Tournament game. We weren't able to sustain that as long as we needed to. That's one area that created some separation."
The Golden Eagles ended up with 18 turnovers, with South Carolina credited with 25 points off those giveaways.
"We're not going to win when we do that," Wojciechowski said.
Marquette led 40-39 at halftime, with both teams shooting 48 percent from the field and both sides charged with six turnovers. However, Marquette was dealing with some marginal foul trouble with four players picking up two.
"Every time we made a mistake, they made us pay," Martin said. "I think they weren't as clean shooting the ball coming down the stretch as they were earlier in the game."
The Golden Eagles lost only twice during the regular season when leading at the half.
-- Marquette still leads the series 12-5.
-- Until last season and this season, it was a dozen years since the Gamecocks produced back-to-back 20-win campaigns.
-- Marquette hadn't been in the tournament since 2013, so this was its first appearance under third-year coach Steve Wojciechowski.
-- South Carolina coach Frank Martin was 6-4 in NCAA Tournament games when he was the Kansas State coach.
-- Marquette used C Matt Heldt in the starting lineup for only the seventh time this season, and he played 14 scoreless minutes. C Luke Fischer, who started 25 games, G Haanif Cheatham, (25 starts) and G Jajuan Johnson (24 starts) all came off the bench.
-- Marquette is celebrating 100 years of basketball at the university.