Zam Tough Loss

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Wednesday morning a member of the Gator staff asked me what I thought about the South Carolina matchup that was coming up later that night. I replied take care of the ball and break even on the boards and you'll be fine. Perhaps I should have added make your free throws.

The Gators broke even on the glass against the Gamecocks, but 18 turnovers and missing two front ends of one-and-one opportunities cost Florida a road win. The 70-69 setback isn't devastating, but the way they let it get away just might turn out to be.

The Gators did so much right in this one. They had maybe their best shot selection in a road game in two years. They made 54 percent from the field and 43 percent from beyond the arc. But in the final two minutes the Gators simply gave it away. Two turnovers allowed Carolina to close within three points and when they couldn't score at the free throw line and failed to defend in the final closing seconds Zam Frederick made them pay with a game ending lay up.

Nick Calathes finished with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists, but that's not what he'll remember about this game. Chandler Parsons almost posted his first career double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds but that's not what he'll remember about this one either. The former high school teammates each stepped to the free throw line late in the game and missed the front end of one-and-one chances. Calathes missed with 13.3 seconds on the clock and the Gators leading 69-67. Instead of making it a two possession game he let Carolina stay within a regular basket. Parsons snagged a rebound of a missed free throw by Zam Frederick with 4.7 seconds left and was fouled 1.4 seconds later. If he makes two the Gamecocks can only throw up a prayer from long range to try and tie the game. Instead he missed off the front rim, the Gators failed to get back defensively and the Gators suffered the kind of loss that can haunt a team for quite a while.

Florida saw its ten game winning streak come to an end and falls to 16-3 on the year, 3-1 in the SEC. Carolina is now 13-4, 2-2 in the conference under first year coach Darren Horn. It'll be a real challenge for this team, dominated by sophomores and freshmen to bounce back in time for Sunday's game at Vanderbilt.

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