The Florida Gators cooled off after a hot start on Thursday night, but still managed to defeat the South Carolina Gamecocks 74-66. The victory moves the No. 12/11 Gators to 18-4 (6-1 SEC) on the season as keeps them undefeated at home at 12-0. After Florida jumped out to a big lead early, it looked like the Gators would cruise, but the Gamecocks fought back and made it a battle. Despite playing tough, South Carolina was unable to come all the way back though and Florida got its eighteenth win of the 2011-12 season.
The Gators came out on fire, but when the shots stopped falling the Gamecocks took advantage. Luckily, South Carolina couldn’t do enough to take advantage of Florida shooting 37.9% from the field and only 25.9% from behind the three-point line. While shooting was an issue, the Gators still managed 74 points, which was more than enough to secure the victory.
Florida was led by junior guard Kenny Boynton who bounced back from his slump with a team-leading 24 points. Boynton went 4-for-8 from downtown and 8-for-10 from the charity stripe. Freshman guard Bradley Beal added 17 points and senior guard Erving Walker had 14. Patric Young came off the bench again, but wasn’t as effective as he had been in recent games. The sophomore forward/center had five rebounds in 25 minutes, but also had only five points.
The story of the night was rebounding. From the opening tip, the Gators were tenacious on the offensive end of the court. Florida totaled 17 offensive boards, which more than doubled South Carolina’s eight. Overall, the Gators outrebounded the Gamecocks 40-27. Despite some costly turnovers, Florida actually had the advantage in that category as well with 13 to South Carolina’s 15.
The win was the sixth straight for the Gators and before we go, we have to give you this just one more time: