Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

No. 12 Florida Gators struggle from field but beat South Carolina Gamecocks 74-66

South Carolina’s Damontre Harris, left, reaches in to block a shot by Florida’s Mike Rosario during the first half.

Associated Press

South Carolina’s Damontre Harris, left, reaches in to block a shot by Florida’s Mike Rosario during the first half.

GAINESVILLE — With some of its toughest competition still remaining on the schedule, Thursday night's game against South Carolina was critically important to Florida in this respect: The Gators were playing a sub-.500 team at home with a chance to hold serve and remain in second place in the SEC.

And yet, its record aside, South Carolina didn't make it easy.

No. 12 Florida led by as many as 17 in the first half, then eventually had to fight its way to a 74-66 victory at the O'Connell Center.

The Gators (18-4, 6-1 SEC) have defeated the Gamecocks (9-12, 1-6) 10 of the past 13 meetings and have now won 18 consecutive home games, 12 this season.

"What won the game for us is we really did a great job getting to the offensive glass (20-10 advantage) because of the way they play defense and really rotate and scramble, and the fact that we got to the free-throw line 32 times (23-of-32)," Florida coach Billy Donovan said.

A 14-2 first-half run gave the Gators a 27-10 lead with 10 minutes left in the half. But trailing 31-16, the Gamecocks outscored the Gators 12-6 in the final seven minutes of the half and trailed just 37-28 at halftime. Florida went 3-of-9 from the line in the final 5:48 of the half.

"The first half we led by (17) and we should have pushed it to 20 instead of letting them get closer, but that's a good team and they are not just going to lay down for us," said senior guard Erving Walker, who had 14 points and seven assists.

"I think we could have defended a little better, but a win is a win, and we'll take it."

Florida's hot shooting during its five-game winning streak cooled against South Carolina.

UF shot just 37.3 percent from the field, its second worst of the season. The Gators were 7-of-28 from 3-point range. But the Gators hit 15 of 16 free throws in the final 3:45 to seal the victory. Guard Kenny Boynton, who was coming off a 2-point game, scored 24.

"We won the game, and it was a woeful shooting night for our team," Donovan said. "And we almost got caught because I didn't think we had great maturity and understanding about the things we can control."

Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com.

12 UF 74

S.C. 66

No. 12 Florida Gators struggle from field but beat South Carolina Gamecocks 74-66 02/02/12 [Last modified: Friday, February 3, 2012 12:14am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. State baseball: Bishop McLaughlin bows out in Class 3A semifinals

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — One inning into Bishop McLaughlin's Class 3A state semifinal against Fort Myers Canterbury, things could not have gone much better for the Hurricanes. They grabbed a quick one-run lead and Canterbury ace Sam Keating was forced out of the game with a nagging neck injury.

     Chris Berglund (18) of Bishop McLaughlin, at bat during second inning of the FHSAA class 3A semi-final on Friday May 26, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Canterbury, Fort Myers, defeated Bishop 7 to 4. Canterbury will play in the 3A championship tomorrow.
  2. Bucs WR DeSean Jackson knows only one direction: full speed ahead

    Sports

    TAMPA — DeSean Jackson is the "1."

    Actually, Jackson, the Bucs' latest weapon for quarterback Jameis Winston, with his blazing speed and game-changing splash plays, wears No. 11 in games.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  3. Video preview: Rays open tough road trip facing Twins tonight

    Blogs

    After splitting a four-game series against the Angels to wrap up a winning homestand, the Rays tonight open a nine-game, 10-day roadtrip with the first game of the weekend series with the Twins:

  4. For starters: Rays, Archer take on surprising Twins to open road trip

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 6:37: Cash said it was a combination of wanting to keep Dickerson, who is a team-best . 358 against lefties, in the lineup and Santiago's splits. ... Cash said there was nothing new on the injured players back at the Trop, with Brad Boxberger still slated to throw live BP on Monday in Port Charlotte, …

  5. Hard to believe NFL overtime change is about player safety

    Bucs

    If someone's house was engulfed in flames, would you hand him a fire extinguisher?

    Of course not.

    Fans await the beginning of overtime between the Patriots and Falcons in Super Bowl LI in February. [Associated Press]