Thru his teams recent struggles of four losses in five games, USC coach Frank Martin railed on his players lack of defensive connectivity. In the final six minutes of their game at Florida Wednesday night, the Gamecocks were everything their coach had said they weren’t on defense, and the result was a surprising 72-66 win at 22nd ranked Florida. It’s the Gamecocks third straight win in Gainesville and their first road win of the season. The loss ends a four game winning streak for the Gators.
USC finished the game on a 13-1 run and held the Gators to 1-10 shooting down the stretch. In fact, Florida made just 3 of 20 shots over the final 13 minutes. The Gators led by 55-47 with 13:25 to play. The Gamecocks went on a 10-0 to take a two point lead with 10 minutes left. The Gators recovered, however, and built a 65-59 lead at the 6:37 mark.
But from there, it was all Gamecocks. Seventh Woods, in his best offensive game with the Gamecocks, nailed a pair of jumpers, and Keyshawn Bryant hit three baskets, including a pair of dunks, to spark the offense down the stretch.
The Gamecocks were aggressive attacking the basket and scored 50 points in the paint. They had 13 offensive rebounds they converted to 20 points.
AJ Lawson led the Gamecocks with 22 points and 8 rebounds. Woods had 12 points and 4 rebounds. Nine players played at least 13 minutes and the Gamecocks bench outscored the Gators 21-7. The Gamecocks won despite having 12 shots blocked and turning the ball over 13 times.
The Gamecocks are now 5-6 overall and 3-4 in the SEC. They are back at home to face Mississippi State Saturday afternoon in the first of a three game homestand.