USC fans trek to Phoenix to watch Gamecocks play in historic gam - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

USC fans trek to Phoenix to watch Gamecocks play in historic game

Fans look on as South Carolina holds open practice in University of Phoenix Stadium (Source: WIS) Fans look on as South Carolina holds open practice in University of Phoenix Stadium (Source: WIS)
PHOENIX, AZ (WIS) -

When history is made, people will always remember where they were,

For South Carolina fans, many will be able to say they make the trek to Phoenix to watch the Gamecocks play in their first-ever Final Four game when they take on Gonzaga on Saturday night. 

"First off, it hasn't even quite hit me yet," said Alex Haley of Atlanta. "Coming into the tournament, it was our first time in, I think, about 13 years. Getting over that hump after the past few years was really exciting."

Fans near and far made their way to the Valley of the Sun to say they were among those in attendance at University of Phoenix Stadium. Many of those fans say this was one event they were not going to miss. 

"The city's amazing and the whole Final Four experience is awesome," said McGolrick. "There have been women riding around handing out free Powerades. They've got South Carolina Road posted on a sign here. There's all kinds of awesome stuff. I love it."

traveled from back east to meet with his friends in Phoenix. Although the experience may be a bit pricey, says being in Phoenix was well worth it. 

"Some of us were in NYC last week for the Sweet 16 and, you know sure enough, we made it to the Final Four," said Richmond, Va., native Eddie McGolrick. "I thought, 'Well, it's tax season so I'm about to get my tax refund. So, I guess I'm going to use all that to get to Phoenix.' And here I am. 

Similar to their trips to Greenville and New York, USC fans have come out in full force in Phoenix. In fact, Gamecock chants could be heard throughout Downtown Phoenix on Friday afternoon. 

"This is indescribable," said Bush Brunson of Allendale. "This is something I've dreamed of since I was three years old. To come to Phoenix and see all of these fans, seeing everyone come around our team right now, it brings tears to my eyes. I've cried probably four times during this tournament already."

The players are well aware of the support they have behind them and it's made this historic experience that much more enjoyable for them. 

"This is a good time for South Carolina basketball, and with the men and the women both being in the Final Four -- it being our first time and their second time in three years -- it's a real exciting time and I'm just eager to get out there and play."

As excited as the fans are, they're well aware of the challenge that top-seeded Gonzaga presents. Still, the fans are looking forward to another thrilling upset. 

"They've got a good team," said Haley. "They've got a lot of talent. That Karnowski guy in the middle is a force to be reckoned with for sure. I love that we're getting slept on. We're a 6-1/2 point underdog. I love that. I rejoice in that fact because the longer we're under the radar, the better our chances are in my mind."

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