Top-seeded South Carolina overwhelms upset-minded Quinnipiac

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) -- Sure, South Carolina knew a little something about Quinnipiac's surprising NCAA Tournament run as Connecticut's other Sweet 16 team. The Gamecocks ignored the "Q'' on the front of the opposing jersey and immediately went to work. Kaela Davis, A'ja Wilson and top-seeded South Carolina overpowered the upstarts from the opening tip, scoring the first 16 points and advancing to the Stockton Regional final by beating the 12th-seeded Bobcats 100-58 on Saturday.

Man who bound dog's muzzle with tape sentenced to 5 years

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- A South Carolina man who wrapped electrical tape around a dog's muzzle to stop her from barking has been sentenced to five years in prison. Media outlets report William Dodson's sentence Friday represented the state's maximum for animal cruelty. However, Dodson's sentence for mistreating Caitlyn won't extend his prison time.

Familiar foes South Carolina, Florida meet in East final

NEW YORK (AP) -- There's no need for introductions in the East Regional final. Scouting reports aren't really necessary. Fourth-seeded Florida and seventh-seeded South Carolina, two Southeastern Conference foes, will meet Sunday at Madison Square Garden with the winner advancing to the Final Four. This will be the third meeting between the teams this season with the home team winning both. They are two tough, defensive teams that can get out and run in transition.

Feds order Savannah River Site contractor to rehire worker

AIKEN, S.C. (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Energy says Savannah River Site's managing contractor must rehire an employee wrongfully fired in 2015 for cooperating with government investigators. The Aiken Standard reports ( ) Savannah River Nuclear Solutions also must pay Sandra Black nearly $372,000 in back pay, benefits and damages. The company said in a statement Black will return to work April 1 as manager of its "employee concerns program," which looks into complaints.

6,000 jobs are unfilled across South Carolina agencies

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- For South Carolinians who need a job, there are lots of openings in state government. The State newspaper reports Saturday ( ) that low pay and increased workloads contribute to agencies' roughly 6,000 vacancies. According to the Department of Administration, 14 percent of the state's full-time jobs are vacant. That excludes positions at public universities and in the judicial and legislative branches.

SEC showdown at Madison Square Garden for spot in Final Four

NEW YORK (AP) -- No. 7 South Carolina (25-10) vs. No. 4 Florida (27-8) East Regional final, 2:20 p.m. EDT BOTTOM LINE: The Southeastern Conference rivals have never met in a bigger basketball game than they will Sunday at Madison Square Garden. South Carolina is looking for its first Final Four appearance. The Gamecocks have been maybe the biggest surprise of the tournament, beating No. 2 seed Duke and blowing out third-seeded Baylor.

Latest North Carolina, South Carolina sports

NCAA-BUTLER-NORTH CAROLINA Berry scores 26 points and Carolina defeats Butler 92-80 MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Joel Berry II scored 26 points and Justin Jackson added 24 as top-seeded North Carolina moved to the Elite Eight with a 92-80 victory over Butler in the NCAA South Region on Friday night. Luke Maye recorded his first career double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds, helping fuel a quick start for Carolina (30-7).

SEC, yes the football power, has 3 teams in Elite 8

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The chant "S-E-C" so well known around football across the South is coming to the Elite Eight. The league best known for winning national titles in football has the most teams still alive and playing for a trip to the Final Four. Kentucky and Florida have been joined by upstart South Carolina in the Gamecocks' first ever trip to a regional final.

The Latest: Chiozza's 3 gives SEC an Elite Eight trio

The Latest on the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament on Friday (all times Eastern): 1:15 a.m. The Southeastern Conference had a big Friday night. Chris Chiozza's incredible running 3-pointer at the buzzer lifted Florida past Wisconsin in overtime, and it gave the SEC three teams in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1986. Kentucky beat UCLA in the South Region, while South Carolina beat Baylor in the East.

South Carolina players love coach Staley's Lifesaver habit

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) -- Don't mess with Dawn Staley's large stash of Lifesavers on the sidelines. No way. Her South Carolina players insist she yells at them less often when her mouth is packed with candy. "She'll just eat a Lifesaver and think about what she wants to say before she says it, which we can be very thankful for," guard Kaela Davis said Friday as the top-seeded Gamecocks prepared for the Stockton Regional.

3 convicted of sex trafficking in SC, Georgia and NC

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- Federal authorities say three men convicted of sex trafficking of minors in South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina would routinely beat and rape victims to force them to participate in commercial sex acts. U.S. Attorney Beth Drake said in a news release Friday the three convicted men are from South Carolina: 24-year-old Damon Jackson of Columbia; 24-year-old Bakari McMillan, also of Columbia; and 44-year-old Cory Miller of Orangeburg.

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Black man arrested in South for writing racist graffiti

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- Police in South Carolina say a 19-year-old black man spray-painted racist, misogynistic and anti-gay graffiti on three buildings, including a library named for one of the black victims of the Charleston church shootings. A police report says the graffiti left at the Cynthia Hurd Library on March 13 targeted black women, the police and white people.

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Beats behind bars: Carnegie Hall musicians back at SC prison

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Musicians from one of America's top concert halls have returned to South Carolina this week, making beautiful music in one of the state's most dangerous prisons in a collaborative process that helps the inmates with more than just harmony. A chamber ensemble affiliated with Carnegie Hall has been at Lee Correctional Institution this week, working with about 40 inmates to create music of their own.

Unloaded gun found in backpack at South Carolina high school

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) -- Authorities say they found an unloaded gun in a backpack being carried by a student at a South Carolina high school. Greenville County Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Jimmy Bolt said in a news release that someone told officials at Berea High School about the gun around 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Bolt says the principal and school police officer approached the student, who handed them the backpack and ran.

South Carolina unemployment rate unchanged in February

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's unemployment rate has remained unchanged as the number of people working in the state has risen. The Department of Employment and Workforce said Friday that South Carolina's unemployment rate in February was 4.4 percent, the same as January. Employment went up more than 10,000, to more than 2.2. million people. The state's labor force rose for the second consecutive month, to more than 2.3 million people.

Teen burned in January fire in Spartanburg County dies

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) -- Spartanburg County officials say a teen burned in a fire in January has died. Coroner Charles Clevenger said in a news release Friday morning that 14-year-old Abby Lynn Sampson of Inman died at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia. The girl, her two brothers and her father were all hurt in a fire at their home Jan. 29. Clevenger says the teen died Thursday morning.