USC played 19th ranked Florida off its feet in the first half but couldn’t stand up to the Gator’s second half surge as the Gamecocks fell 79-65 Saturday night at the Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks are now 0-3 in SEC play and 8-9 overall. The Gators improve to 14-4 and 2-1 in the SEC. The win is Florida’s first on an opponent’s home court this season after four defeats.
The Gamecocks led at the break 41-40 as they shot over 62% from the floor and hit six three pointers. But even the energy generated at halftime by the crowd honoring Steve Spurrier and members of the football team could not help the basketball team sustain that performance.
The Gators scored the first five points of the second half and never trailed the rest of the way. The Gamecocks hit an extended dry spell of eight minutes and the Gators built their lead to 15 points. The Gamecocks missed nine straight shots and committed three turnovers during that stretch.
The Gamecocks never got closer than ten the rest of the way.
AUDIO: Darrin Horn post game press conference
AUDIO: Malik Cooke and Bruce Ellington talk to the media
AUDIO: Billy Donovan post game press conference
Bruce Ellington led the Gamecocks with 17 points. Malik Cooke was the only other Gamecock in double figures with 10. Six Gators scored in double figures led by guard Bradley Beal with 16 points.
USC managed just eight second half baskets and finished the night shsooting 41%. Florida nailed a dozen three pointers and finished with a 53% mark from the floor.
The Gamecocks are off until next Saturday when they play at Auburn.