No. 6 Men's Hoops Downs USC On The Road 77-75

Senior Matt Bonner (Concord, N.H.) led the Gators with 19 points, while freshman Matt Walsh (Holland, Pa.) had the first double-figure scoring game of his career in a SEC game with 17 points. Junior Bonell Colas (Miami, Fla.) also scored a career-high 16 points.

Gainesville, FL - Freshman Matt Walsh (Holland, Pa.) made two critical plays in the final minute to give the No. 6 University of Florida men's basketball team a hard-fought 77-75 road win over Southeastern Conference rival South Carolina, Saturday night at the Carolina Coliseum.

The Gators ran their win streak to 11 straight games, while improving to 15-2 overall and a perfect 4-0 in the SEC. It marks the second consecutive season that UF has started 4-0 in conference play. The Gamecocks fell to 7-6 and 1-3 in the conference.

Tied at 72-72 with under 40 seconds left, Walsh connected with senior Matt Bonner (Concord, N.H.) on a pass on a backdoor cut, as the senior slammed it home to give UF the lead that it would not relinquish at 74-72. On USC's next possession, Walsh collected a rebound on a Carlos Powell missed layup and walked down the floor to sink two free throws to give the Gators a 76-72 advantage with 15 seconds left. Those free throws turned out to be the difference-maker, as Powell drained a three on South Carolina's next possession to cut the lead to one with four seconds left. Fellow freshman Anthony Roberson (Saginaw, Mich.) made one of his two free throw attempts before Powell's 30-foot shot at the buzzer came up short.

The Gators were led by Bonner's 19 points. In addition to Bonner, Walsh registered the first double-figure scoring game of his career in a SEC game with 17 points and eight rebounds. The biggest offensive surprise of the night for UF came from reserve junior Bonell Colas (Miami, Fla.). Colas came off the bench to score a career-high 16 points on 6-of-10 (60-percent) shooting from the field.

South Carolina led throughout much of the first half, as senior center Tony Kitchings led all scorers with 19 points in the first 20 minutes. The Gators' defense responded in the second half and held Kitchings to only one field goal and three points before fouling out with two and a half minutes left in the game.

The Gamecocks led by as many as 10 in the first half and had a 44-34 lead with under five seconds left to play, before Bonner knocked down a baseline three-pointer at the buzzer to cut the USC lead to 44-37 at intermission.

Florida will be back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 8 p.m. at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center, as the Gators host SEC West foe Vanderbilt.

Fightin Gators Top Stories