Trash-talking ex-teammate fueled Oregon’s Jermaine Couisnard scoring 40 in March Madness upset

It was personal for Oregon senior guard Jermaine Couisnard.

The senior guard went off for 40 points against his former team in the Ducks’ first-round upset of South Carolina in the NCAA tournament on Thursday — and revealed that one of his ex-mentees motivated his scoring spree.

Cousinard said South Carolina junior guard Jacobi Wright chirped something to him after he hit a 3, which helped him torch the Gamecocks, according to Gamecocks Digest.

Oregon Ducks guard Jermaine Couisnard shoots a three as South Carolina’s Myles Stute #10 defends in the second half of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at PPG PAINTS Arena on March 21, 2024 in Pittsburgh. Getty Images

Although he didn’t share what the “trash talk” entailed, the 25-year-old Cousinard said Wright didn’t say anything personal — and he is like a little brother to him, as he mentored him at South Carolina.

Couisnard finished Oregon’s 87-73 win with 40 points — shooting 14-of-22 from the floor and 5-of-9 from 3-point range, with 26 second-half points — which set a record for points scored by a Ducks player in an NCAA tournament game, per ESPN.

He added six assists and four rebounds, and went 7-for-7 from the free throw line. 

Couisnard led Oregon in points, assists, 3-pointers and steals.

Oregon Ducks guard Jermaine Couisnard (5) celebrates after a play during the second half of the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at PPG Paints Arena on March 21, 2024. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

South Carolina’s Jacobi Wright (1) drives around Oregon’s Jadrian Tracey (22) during the first half of a college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA men’s tournament Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Pittsburgh. AP

The Chicago native — who said he was also motivated by his family’s presence in the crowd, including his grandmother — praised the South Carolina program for helping develop him as a player.

Couisnard played for South Carolina for three seasons before transferring to Oregon in 2022.

“This is one of my grandmother’s first games,” he said. “So, I was happy to see her be able to drive out here and play in front of her and be able to watch me play.

“This is my grandma’s first game here this season. I knew I had to make a sacrifice for her. Just one day, that’s all I dreamed of for her to come to one of my games.” — Jermaine Couisnard on his grandmother after seeing him score an @OregonMBB record-setting 40 points 🔥— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 21, 2024

“It wasn’t [South Carolina]. It was just me being competitive. I know those guys have a great team over there. Coach (Paris) Lamont did a wonderful job this year. It was just me just showing my will, just trying to compete to win.”

Cousinard joined Warriors star Steph Curry as the only players that have 40-point games as a double-digit seed in the past 25 NCAA tournaments.

The Ducks face No. 3 seed Creighton in the second round.

“Just keep defending, I think that’s they key to this tournament,” he said when asked about the matchup. “Defend and rebound and we’ll have a good chance of not turning the ball over.”

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