Devan Downey may be the South Carolina Gamecocks‘ star player, but fellow senior guard Brandis Raley-Ross stole the show Wednesday night in Columbia, SC. Raley-Ross’ 17 second half points and four three-pointers led the Gamecocks (14-9, 5-4 SEC) to a comeback 77-71 home victory over the Florida Gators (17-7, 6-4 SEC).
Though Florida only missed seven shots in the first half and was shooting 68.2 percent to 37.8 percent for South Carolina, an astounding 12 turnovers (including five in the first 4:17 of the game) left them with only a four-point lead at halftime.
This trend would continue after the break, with the Gators surrendering three turnovers in the first 4:30 of the second half and a five more before the final buzzer sounded. The Gamecocks were stingy, only giving up six all night compared to UF’s season-high 20.
Read the rest of OGGOA’s Florida at South Carolina game story after the jump!
Florida’s miscues continued at the free throw line, where they shot 43.5 percent (10-of-23) as a team after averaging over 70 percent on the season. Though they did outrebound USC 39-27, Florida allowed South Carolina 18 more shot attempts due to the turnover discrepancy. Wednesday marked the first Southeastern Conference game this season that the Orange and Blue lost while outrebounding their opponent.
The Gators initially took the lead on a dunk by junior forward Chandler Parsons with 16:31 remaining in the first half. It would increase to a game-high eight for Florida on a three-pointer by sophomore point guard Erving Walker with 6:45 on the clock. UF would hold on to the advantage for 27:53 of game time before losing it on a trey by Downey that gave USC a 51-50 lead with 8:18 remaining in the game.
An 18-5 Gamecocks second half run that included three three-pointers and 11 total points by Raley-Ross propelled South Carolina to a game-high seven-point lead that they would never surrender. Ross finished with 20 points while Downey led USC with 24. Junior F Sam Muldrow contributed 16 points and eight rebounds.
For the Gators, Walker was 6-for-10 both from the field and at the line for a team-high 20 points. He was one of three Florida players with four turnovers. The other two were Parsons (13 points, 11 rebounds, six assists) and junior F Alex Tyus, who finished with a double-double of 11-points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Freshman G Kenny Boynton tallied 13 points while walk-on sophomore G Kyle McClanahan saw his first meaningful game action of the season (six minutes, two points, one rebound).
The Gators look to rebound from a crushing defeat by returning home Saturday to host the Xavier Musketeers in a rare late season out-of-conference game. UF’s NCAA Tournament hopes may be on the line as the contest airs live at 6 p.m. on ESPN.