NEW YORK — Tarence Kinsey made a three-point basket with 1.3 seconds left Thursday night to lift South Carolina to a 60-57 victory over St. Joseph's in the National Invitation Tournament championship game.
Pat Carroll of St. Joseph's had tied the score seconds earlier with a three-point basket, then Kinsey dribbled down the right side before pulling up for his winning shot.
"I figured if I miss we're in [overtime]," Kinsey said. "I didn't want to pass because of the time so I said, 'Why not take the shot?' "
Coach Dave Odom had thought about calling a timeout to get Josh Gonner, a better three-point shooter, in the game.
But Odom resisted and watched the final play develop.
"I didn't want their defense to set for the last play. So I swallowed my tongue, or whatever," Odom said. "The irony is, had I called a timeout, I would have put Josh in and taken Tarence out -- no question."
South Carolina (20-13) reached 20 victories for the third time in Odom's four seasons.
St. Joseph's finished 24-12.
"We are not going to leave here in second place, we are going to leave as champions," Hawk Coach Phil Martelli said. "It just doesn't say that in the end result."