March Madness: South Carolina's Ta'Lon Cooper beats halftime buzzer from beyond halfcourt to keep close with Oregon

Oregon took control of Thursday's first half against South Carolina in the first round of NCAA tournament play.

But the 6th-seeded Gamecocks got the last word before halftime.

With No. 11 seed Oregon leading, 34-26, South Carolina inbounded the ball under its own basket with less than two seconds remaining on the game clock. Senior guard Ta'Lon Cooper took the inbounds pass and dribbled once, then heaved a prayer toward the basket. His prayer was answered.

The ball bounced off the square and straight into the basket to cut Oregon's lead to 34-29 at the break.

It was a much-needed bucket for the higher-seeded Gamecocks who watched Oregon end the half on a 20-6 run before Cooper's basket. Ultimately, Oregon remained in control en route to an 87-73 win.

The Ducks, fresh off a Pac-12 tournament championship, shot 60.9% from the field in the first half while limiting the Gamecocks to a 32.1% effort. They were the superior team despite entering the game seeded five spots lower than South Carolina.

Making matters worse for the Gamecocks, South Carolina transfer Jermaine Couisnard led the Oregon effort with 14 first-half points. He finished the game with a career-high and Oregon NCAA tournament-record 40 points against his former team.