Florida basketball score, takeaways: Nembhard leads road win over South Carolina

By Adam Silverstein
January 7, 2020
Florida basketball score, takeaways: Nembhard leads road win over South Carolina

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

Seeking a third straight win for just the second time this season, Florida Gators basketball had a tall task ahead of it with a quick turnaround on the road against the South Carolina Gamecocks but ultimately pulled through with a complete effort in an 81-66 victory. Florida (10-4, 2-0 SEC) led most of the second half, and sophomore point guard Andrew Nembhard was tremendous throughout the game as he cut up South Carolina (8-6, 0-1 SEC).

What went down on Tuesday night in Columbia, South Carolina? Let’s take a look at the Gators’ big win in the latest edition of fastbreak takeaways.

It was over when … Nembhard put a cap on his tremendous play with 2 minutes remaining, draining a dagger three to put Florida up nine points after the Gators struggled to pull away in the second half. Nembhard finished with game-highs of 21 points and 10 assists for the first double-double of his career, draining 8 of 14 shots and 3 of 5 triples, though he did have four turnovers. UF scored the final eight points of the game for its final margin of 13 points.

Exceptional efforts: Nembhard was consistent throughout the game, but he was not alone in fueling the Gators on Tuesday night. Sophomore forward Keyontae Johnson scored 19 points on 8 of 13 shooting, adding eight boards. Freshman G Scottie Lewis was also terrific, hitting all six of his free throws as part of his 15-point, nine-rebound final line. The trio combined to score 55 of the team’s 81 points and hit 56 percent of their baskets, compared to 33 percent for the rest of the squad.

Odds and ends: Redshirt senior F Kerry Blackshear Jr. continued his inconsistent play, seeing just 2 minutes of action in the first half after committing as many fouls. He ultimately scored 11 points but went 2 of 7 from the field and 7 of 10 from the line with five rebounds … freshman F Omar Payne stepped in for Blackshear, grabbing nine boards in the first half … Florida outrebounded South Carolina 42-30 … the Gators led for the entire second half despite seeing their advantage cut to a single point … Florida improved to 46-27 all-time against South Carolina, including 23-15 on the road; however, that was just the Gators’ third win over the Gamecocks under White (3-5)

What it means: Florida won three straight games for just the second time this season as it looks to recover from an inconsistent nonconference effort at the start of SEC play. Nembhard has 46 points and 14 assists combined over his last two games, and his improved play could set the tone for this team as it faces a difficult upcoming slate of two games each week.

What’s next? No rest for the weary as the Gators will play their third game in eight days on Saturday, second straight on the road. Missouri will host Florida at 8:30 p.m. ET in a game that will air live nationally on SEC Network.

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