Horn previews Gators

South Carolina (8-8, 0-2 SEC) will welcome the Florida Gators (13-4, 1-1 SEC) to Colonial Life Arena on Saturday in a key SEC East battle. The Gamecocks will be looking to avoid an 0-3 start in league play as they face off against the number-19 team in the land.

So far, the Southeastern Conference schedule has felt a lot like the non-conference schedule for USC, as they have suffered the frustration of back-to-back losses to Kentucky and Vanderbilt.

The Gamecocks have averaged a meager 60.5 points per game so far in SEC play, and will have to shoot much higher against the hot-handed Gators.

"We obviously need to score the basketball better in general," said Horn. "We did a good job in the second half (against Vanderbilt). I think it's a lot to ask young people, especially a team that's not real experienced, to defend at the level which we did. It's real important for us that we get better. Let individuals do what they need to do to perform and produce for us."

The Gators come in leading the country in three pointers made per game at eleven per contest. Their last game was a dominating 70-48 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs.

"This (team) is the leading three point shooting team in the country, and the reason somebody leads something is that they're really good at it," said Horn. "Everybody that's played them knows that and understands that and they've still found a way to lead the country in that area. So that's going to be another thing that's important for us on Saturday. I think that if we can come out with the kind of defensive focus we had in the first half and find a way to score, it gives us a better opportunity to maintain that throughout the second half."

Florida is led by Kenny Boynton who is averaging 18.9 points per game as well as shooting 45-percent from beyond the three point line. Bradley Beal, Erving Walker, Patric Young, and Erik Murphy all average in double figures for points per game as well.

"Well I think that's one reason that they're so good," noted Horn. "They've got so many guys. And shooting the three is one thing, having a couple guys (who can shoot the three) is another. Patric Young is playing extremely well and has really developed into a handful on the interior. So it just has to be a collective effort to defend the three and make it as hard as possible for Patric Young, understanding that he's a really good player."

Coach Horn said that despite the tough start in conference, the team has a chance to get better if both the coaches and players are willing to put in the work.

"Again, we've got to keep getting better," added Horn. "We've got to coach them better, guys have got to play better. Individuals have got to do what they do well. We've all been challenged to do that as coaches and players and that doesn't mean everything's going to be okay or automatically things are going to get right. Obviously we've got a very tough stretch here to start but I think the important thing is that our guys continue to stay focused on those things, because we can do better than we've done."

The Gators are just one of several nationally ranked teams that USC has taken on this season. And Coach Horn said that despite the Gator only being ranked nineteenth in the latest polls, they are more than capable of playing at a championship level.

"I mean our message is the same as it has been from day one," said Horn. "Individuals have to perform and we've got to continue to get better. Obviously right now scoring is an issue for us, and that's something that we're addressing a little bit more strongly. How they've played is irrelevant to us, we've got to be concerned about how we play and coming out and being the best team we can be. I've told you guys before, I assume that every team we play is going to be at their best on any given night, and we've seen that when this team is at their best they're a top ten caliber team in the country."

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