Tarence Kinsey was a timeout away from being a spectator instead of the hero.
Known more for defense, Kinsey hit a three-pointer with 1.3 seconds left to lift South Carolina (20-13) to a 60-57 victory Thursday night over Saint Joseph's in the NIT championship game.
Six seconds after Pat Carroll tied it with a three for Saint Joseph's (24-12) at the end of a miserable night for the sharpshooter, Kinsey nailed the winning jumper.
"I figured if I miss we're in OT," Kinsey said. "I didn't want to pass because of the time so I said, 'Why not take the shot?' "
He was only in the game to guard Carroll, who went 5 for 19 and 2 of 13 from three-point range. Coach Dave Odom was about to call timeout to get his shooter, Josh Gonner, back in.
"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."
Carlos Powell scored a game-high 16 points and was chosen tournament MVP.