Gainesville, FL – The 12th-ranked Florida Gators put a five- game win streak on the line this evening, as the welcome the South Carolina Gamecocks to Gainesville for an SEC showdown at the O'Connell Center.
Billy Donovan's Gators are very much in the hunt for the conference crown thanks to their recent run of victories. Florida is second in the SEC at 5-1 and enter this contest following a 69-57 win over Mississippi State last weekend.
Darrin Horn's Gamecocks are at the opposite end of the league standings, residing in the league cellar with Georgia at 1-5. South Carolina has lost five of its last six games, including a 66-62 setback at Ole Miss last Saturday.
Florida holds a 38-22 lead in the series with South Carolina and has won nine of the last 12 meetings. The Gators are seeking a regular-season sweep after posting a 79-65 win over South Carolina in Columbia on January 14th.
In a close game throughout, the Gamecocks came up just short in Oxford against Ole Miss this past weekend. Malik Cooke led the way in defeat with 17 points. USC drained eight three-pointers in the game, but still shot just 40 percent from the floor. Brenton Williams added 15 points off the bench for USC, while Anthony Gill chipped in with 10. A lack of consistency on the offensive end has directly contributed to South Carolina's sub par record. The Gamecocks are shooting a mere 41.7 percent from the floor, leading to 62.8 ppg. The roster is void of any prolific scorers, as Cooke and Bruce Ellington are the only reliable double-digit threats at 12.7 and 10.8 ppg, respectively. Gill is just under the mark at 8.3 ppg.
Florida has had no issues with scoring this season, averaging a robust 80.7 ppg, shooting .481 overall, including an impressive .408 from behind the arc. Kenny Boynton is one of five Gators averaging double figures, averaging 17.2 ppg. Boynton is one of the nation's premier snipers, hitting 43.5 percent from three-point range and amassing 70 three-pointers to date. Bradley Beal (14.1 ppg) and Erving Walker (12.6 ppg) add to the perimeter assault. Center Patric Young (11.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and Eric Murphy (10.6 ppg) give the team balance up front. The Gators drilled 11 three-pointers in the 12-point win over Mississippi State. Beal led four Gators in double figures with 19 points. Murphy finished with 14 points, while Young and Walker tacked on 12 and 10 points, respectively. Boynton however, struggled in the game, hitting just 1- of-6 from the floor and finishing with just two points.