USC was competitive with Florida for the first half in Gainesville Wednesday night trailing only by eight at the half 34-26. But the second half was a completely different story. The Gamecocks made just three of their first 13 second half shots as the Gators ran away to an 81-60 victory handing the Gamecocks their fourth straight loss.
A pair of free throws by GG Jackson got the Gamecocks to within six in the early moments of the second half at 34-28, but the Gators ripped off a 21-7 run over the next seven minutes to forge a 20-point cushion at 55-35. Colin Castleton scored nine of his 18 points during that span, and there would be no backing up by the Gators as they grew the lead to 30 with 5:35 to play.
Shooting (37% for the game) wasn’t the only negative for the Gamecocks. They suffered 15 turnovers the Gators turned into 16 points. The Gators also blocked nine shots. That’s 24 lost scoring possessions for the Gamecocks. Florida took advantage of those turnovers and blocks to score 21 fastbreak points.
A positive for the Gamecocks was the play of Josh Gray who recorded his first career double-double with career highs of 11 points and 13 rebounds. GG Jackson also recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 boards. The Gamecocks won the boards 45-36 including 12 on the offensive glass they converted into 21 second chance points.
Castleton led the Gators with 18 points. He also had four blocks and three rebounds. Kowacie Reeves added 15 points and Riley Kugel scored all 14 of his points in the second half.
The Gamecocks are 8-12 overall and 1-6 in the SEC and will play Saturday at Georgia. The Gators are 12-8 and 5-3 and will play at Kansas State Saturday as part of the SEC-Big 12 Challenge.