Gators Dominate the Gamecocks

The No. 17 Gators wanted to correct mistakes on offense from their first meeting with South Carolina. After allowing Gamecocks forward Sam Muldrow to shut down the Florida big men in the first game, the Gators attacked the paint early and often Wednesday night. The outside shots opened up soon after, and Florida (19-5, 8-2 SEC) cruised to a 79-60 win in Columbia.

"We got off to a good start in the game," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said on his post game radio show. "I was happy with our guys coming back against a team that really outworked, outhustled and outplayed us in Gainesville."

The offensive game plan was clear from the opening tip. Alex Tyus and Vernon Macklin combined for six of the first nine points of the game. Macklin finished the first half with 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting from the field. Florida led 9-0 just over five minutes into the game.

The Florida guards frequently ran a pick and roll that opened passing lanes for them in the high post, where they dropped down to Macklin or Patric Young on the baseline for an easy basket.

"Coach Donovan always wants to get the ball inside with either a dribble drive or post feeds," Macklin said. "That's what we did tonight. Our guys did a great job getting the ball to the big guys.

Florida had 22 of its 38 total points coming from inside the paint in the first half.

The first half was sloppy, as both teams went to halftime with ten turnovers. Florida's 38-27 lead at halftime was a product of points that came off those turnovers. The Gators produced 12 points off turnovers while the Gamecocks could only muster six.

"It's huge," Erving Walker said about the importance of getting the ball down low. "It's easy points for us inside, and when they're scoring inside, it makes it easier on us on the outside."

The good news didn't stop in the paint. The Gators also saw starting point guard Erving Walker break out of his shooting slump. The junior hit only eight three-pointers in Florida's last eight games, but he went 4-for-5 from behind the three-point line on Wednesday night.

Walker went for a season-high 25 points and only turned the ball over one time in a performance he needed.

"I just tried to keep my feet under me and take good shots," Walker said. "I've been shooting the ball well all year except for this stretch. I just keep shooting with confidence."

Florida outrebounded its opponent for the seventh straight game, this time outrebounding South Carolina 31-28. Chandler Parsons led the team in that category while pulling down 12. The senior also scored 14 points and had eight assists.

It was the third straight game Parsons recorded a double-double and his sixth straight game with double digit rebounds.

"He is doing a lot of things," Donovan said. "The thing I'm most pleased with Chandler about is he is letting the game come to him right now. There have been times this year when he was going into the game with such an idea of what he wanted to do, but now he's just playing. He is letting the game come to him, and he understands it's a long game. He was productive all around today."

The Gators return home Saturday night to host the Tennessee Volunteers at 6 p.m.


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