The Florida Gators returned home to the O’Dome on Wednesday and dominated the South Carolina Gamecocks 75-36. In the process, they held South Carolina to their lowest point total in a conference game in their history. The previous low was 40 against Kentucky in 1999.
The Gators(17-0) jumped out to a quick early lead on the strength of their suffocating defense and great rebounding and cruised into halftime up 33-10. The lead could have been much worse were it not for the Gators sloppy offense and poor free throw shooting.
The Gators defense was simply amazing holding the Gamecocks to 3-21 (14.3%) shooting from the field in the first half and forcing 13 turnovers getting 12 points off of them. The problem for the Gators was they gave up 9 turnovers themselves and shot only 7-16 (43.8%) from the free throw line. Mike Rosario led the way in the first half with 12 points on 5-8 shooting from the field and Kenny Boynton had 7 points. The Gators outrebounded the Gamecocks 21-11 in the first twenty minutes.
The second half turned into a three point shooting contest for the Gators as they went 8-15 from beyond the arc in the half to extend the lead to 40 points eight minutes in. They coasted from there and at one point the only question left was if the Gamecocks could break thirty.
Mike Rosario and Kenny Boynton led the way with 15 points each, freshman Michael Frazier scored 12, while Erik Murphy and Patric Young had 8 points apiece. Michael Carrera led the Gamecocks with 13 the only South Carolina player in double figures.
In addition to his 15 points, Kenny Boynton had 3 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 steals. Scottie Wilbekin chipped in 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal.
The Gators offense was sloppy in the first half with 8 turnovers and multiple missed shots in the lane but recovered in the second half to shoot 52.8% (28-53) from the field and 57.1% (12-21) from three overall for the game. The offense did a great job of finding open shooters throughout finishing with 18 assists overall which is right on the number that Donovan targets for them each game.
Defensively, they were down right suffocating holding South Carolina to 31.1% (14-45) from the floor and 14.3% (2-14) from beyond the arc. They repeatedly forced South Carolina deep into the shot clock leaving them with tough shots and grabbing seemingly every rebound. The Gators dominated South Carolina on the boards grabbing 37 total while giving up only 23.
Patric Young led the way on the boards with 8 while Will Yeguete and Michael Frazier had 7 apiece.
The Gators press and tough man to man was highly effective for the Gators both in the full and half court leading to 19 South Carolina turnovers which led to 16 Gators points. Will Yeguete and Erik Murphy each had 3 steals.
The Gators won their 9th consecutive game since losing on the road to Kansas State opening the conference slate 7-0 and dominating every opponent thus far.
The Gators toughest opponent will likely be their next one, the Ole Miss Rebels, who come to Gainesville on Saturday. Tip off from the O’Dome is scheduled for 7 pm eastern and will be broadcast on ESPNU.