Another night, another new starting lineup for the Florida Gators (their sixth of the year), except this time, it seemed to work. Instead of the usual shooting woes to open the game, lineup newcomers Kowacie Reeves and Phlandrous Fleming promptly made the first two attempts of the game.
The Gators would go on to defeat South Carolina 71-63 in Columbia. Florida’s lead built to as many as 13 in the first half when Myreon Jones (off the bench) made the second of two free throws with 1:23 remaining. The two teams entered intermission with Florida leading 36-28.
The second half saw a back and forth affair with neither team gaining much traction. The Gamecocks eventually started to claw back into the game with a 6-0 run midway through the second half. While USC made it a four point game with 9:26 to play, the Gators followed with a 10-1 run that put them back up by thirteen. With 1:14 remaining, the Gamecocks got to within six, but Tyree Appleby hit a pair at the line to clinch the win.
For the game, Florida shot 55% from the field while holding Carolina to just 35%. The Gators also made 10-15 from the free throw line, a significant improvement from their 11-22 showing the last time out.
Reeves and Fleming led Florida with 14 points each while Colin Castelton added 10 points and 7 rebounds.
Florida will host Mississippi State on Wednesday at Exactech Arena with tip-off scheduled for 6:30 PM. The Bulldogs are 12-4 on the season and 3-1 in league action.