Gators Throttle Gamecocks, 79-60

The Florida Gators had revenge on their minds coming to Columbia after falling to South Carolina, 72-69, in Gainesville last month. The Gators did just that, jumping all over the Gamecocks early on and cruising to a 79-60 win Wednesday night at the Colonial Life Arena.

According to South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn, the Gamecock win over # 17/19 Florida in Gainseville last month meant nothing Wednesday night. That proved to be true as the Gators jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and never trailed, cruising to a 79-60 win over the Gamecocks to stay atop the SEC East. Florida is now 19-5, 8-2 in the SEC while the Gamecocks dropped to 13-9, 4-5 in the SEC, last in the East.

"This game was pretty simple to sum up," Horn said. "I thought our guys came ready (to play) and responded to their 9-0 run. We were getting good looks that just didn't go down. It took the wind out of us (and) we never really recovered from that. Florida did what a very good, veteran team does and took advantage of every opportunity. We're not a team with our experience level where we can afford to do that (miss shots) against a team of that caliber."

Erving Walker led a quartet of Gators in double-figures, finishing with a game-high 25 points. Vernon Macklin added 16 - 14 of which came in the first half - Chandler Parsons had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Kenny Boynton finished with 12 points. Bruce Ellington led Carolina with 14 points while Sam Muldrow and Brian Richardson each finished with 10.

After missing their first eight shots of the game and trailing 7-0, Galloway got things going for Carolina with a deep three from the elbow in front of the Gator bench then followed with a jumper and two free throws to draw the Gamecocks within 9-7. That would be all Galloway scored until two free throws with under three minutes left in the game.

After trading baskets, the Gators started dominating inside with several shots in the paint and a dunk. Macklin ended the half with 14 points and four rebounds to lead the Gator inside attack. A Boynton 3-pointer stretched the lead to nine, but Ellington brought the Gamecocks back with six straight points of his own.

An 8-0 run gave the Gators a commanding 38-24 lead before Ellington ended the half with a 3-pointer as the Gators took an 11 point lead into the locker room.

"We cut to a two possession game with four or five minutes left and then they made another run," Horn said. "I think that really hurt us. It was a combination of some shots not going down and some mistakes we made and them taking advantage of it. That's what good, veteran teams do and we've got to learn from it."

The Gators picked up right where they left off in the second half. A Parson's 3-pointer followed by a Patric Young dunk gave the Gators a 53-35 lead. A pair of Walker free throws stretched the lead to 19 at 57-38. Back-to-back deep 3-pointers by Richardson cut the lead to 57-44 and gave what had been a very quiet crowd a little bit of energy with just over 10 minutes remaining. A Parsons 3-pointer stretched it back out to 20, but Richardson was fouled attempting a three the next time down. Richardson could only manage to connect on 2-of-3 and it was a 60-46 Gator lead. A Parsons reverse layup stretched the lead back to 18 and all but ended any hopes of a Gamecock comeback.

"They really hurt us inside," Horn said. "We really didn't get a lot from any of our guys inside tonight."

Florida has now won six of seven since the loss to the Gamecocks in Gainseville, while the Gamecocks have dropped three straight to drop below .500 in SEC play and last in the SEC East. The young group of Gamecocks return to action Saturday, hosting the Georgia Bulldogs. Tip is set for 4:00 and will be televised on the SEC Network.

"There is no magic formula to it - you just have to go through it," Horn said. "You just have to understand how important it is to practice well every day, how important it is for each individual to come in and play. Roman Galloway is a great example of that. He had some quick points that helped us out, but didn't score but a bucket (two free throws) the rest of the game and turns the ball over five times. He's a guy that has some experience and we're not in a situation with our team that we can have that kind of stuff happen. Individuals have to know that."

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories