The Oregon basketball program pulled off an impressive 87-73 upset over the South Carolina Gamecocks on Thursday. Senior guard Jermaine Cousinard erupted for 40 points during the March Madness matchup. Moreover, he gave reporters insight into what triggered his breakout performance.

Ironically, Cousinard started his college basketball career with South Carolina in 2019 and later transferred to Oregon in 2022. The star guard was victorious over his former team on one of college basketball's biggest stages.

Reporters asked Cousinard if playing against his old team fueled his offensive eruption, and he gave a motivating response.

“I kind of heard somebody say something to me on the court. That's what got me going. I'm a competitor and that's like a guy I kind of mentored when I was there,” Cousinard said, per Duck Territory.

Nevertheless, the former Gamecocks guard showed love and appreciation to his former teammates.

“But it was fun man. Those guys kind of made me. I grew a lot. I learned a lot when I was there. So I appreciate those guys more than anything,” Cousinard added.

South Carolina put up an admirable fight, but they pushed the wrong buttons.

Ducks outshined Gamecocks in matchup of stars

In addition to Cousinard's 40 points, Oregon had two other players score in the double digits. Fellow guard Jackson Shelstad chipped in 11 points, four assists, and two rebounds. In addition, center N'Faly Dante contributed 23 points and six rebounds.

Meanwhile, South Carolina had standout performances from Meechie Johnson Jr., Ta'Lon Cooper, and B.J. Mack, who scored 24, 15, and 13 points, respectively. The Gamecocks nailed 45.8% of their three-pointers, but only shot 44.6% from the field overall, largely due to Oregon's suffocating defense.

The Ducks forced 10 turnovers, notched eight steals, and six blocks on South Carolina. Moreover, Oregon delivered a significant blow to the Gamecocks on the free-throw line. They went 12/19 at the stripe compared to the Ducks' 24/30 clip.

Oregon's team effort saw them advance to the Round of 32, where they will face a dangerous Creighton Bluejays team.

Can the Ducks keep dancing? 

Oregon will need to bring its top March Madness performance against Creighton, who is coming off a 77-60 win over the Akron Zips. The Blue Jays are anchored by senior center Ryan Kalkbrenner, a three-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year.

Kalkbrenner poured in 23 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks in Creighton's victory Thursday. The Ducks need to find a way to contain him if they want to be successful. Yet, he is not the only one the team has to keep tabs on.

Senior forward Baylor Scheierman and junior guard Trey Alexander are also key to Creighton's success. Scheierman is a sharpshooting, rebounding machine that does nearly everything on the court. He is coming off a 15-point-13-round double-double against the Zips.

Equally as productive, Alexander thrives as a two-way combo guard. He notched 19 points and five rebounds on Thursday. The Bluejays are hungry to advance in the tournament after reaching the Elite Eight in 2023.

Yet, with the leadership of Jermaine Cousinard and company, the Ducks have a chance to get the upset and keep dancing.