South Carolina's Koty Millard scored with 11 seconds remaining to give South Carolina a 2-1 win over 18th-ranked Kentucky in the Conference USA Tournament quarterfinals Wednesday at the Old Dominion University Soccer Complex in Norfolk, Va.
Millard got on the end of a pass by Mahamoudou Kaba during a last-minute scrum inside the UK box, finding the back of the net and handing the Wildcats (10-5-4) their second loss in a row after a string of nine games unbeaten.
The result could easily have been reversed seconds earlier, but Ryan Creel's shot went right to the South Carolina goalkeeper with just less than a minute to go.
Kentucky, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, had plenty of chances to go ahead in the final 30 minutes.
Among the closest calls was a Stefan Stojkovic shot from the top of the box in the 58th minute. Stojkovic's shot beat the Gamecocks goalkeeper, but hit the post and went out for a corner.
"For us it's one of those where you don't want to make excuses, but with multiple guys missing from the starting lineup and other guys in the 11 hobbling around at maybe 60 percent — with all that being said I couldn't be more proud of the guys," Kentucky Coach Johan Cedergren said.
"I thought we played really well, we were really good in the first half. We had a couple of chances off corners we should have put in, and Stefan hit the post in the second half before they scored. I thought we did more than enough to get a result today, but part of what makes this game so much fun is you never know until the game is over. You have to take your chances and do a really good job defending. For us those two goals (that UK conceded), we are gonna look at them, and I think we have to do better."
Kentucky fielded a makeshift starting 11 with regular starter Justin Laird sidelined due to a knock on his knee, and midfielders Napo Matsoso and Paul Sime suspended due to yellow card accumulation.
Kristoffer Tollefsen gave Kentucky a lead to take into halftime, converting a 31st-minute penalty after Creel was brought down inside the area.
Seventh-seeded South Carolina (9-9-0) tied it six minutes into the second half on a goal by Kaba.
Kentucky now awaits the draw for the NCAA Tournament, which takes place Monday at 1 p.m.