Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators snap losing streak by shooting past South Carolina

By Adam Silverstein
January 15, 2022
Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators snap losing streak by shooting past South Carolina
Basketball

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

Florida Gators basketball got off the schneid on Saturday, picking up a 71-63 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks to end its three-game losing streak to start SEC play. The victory was also Florida’s first over a Power Five opponent since Nov. 24, 2021, ending a streak of five consecutive defeats against such opponents.

While the Gators shot much better than they have in weeks, myriad other elements of their play were concerning. Namely, their inability to rebound coupled with a high rate of turnovers allowed the Gamecocks to take 26 more shots in the game, keeping the hosts in a contest that would have otherwise been a double-digit blowout.

Florida (10-6, 1-3 SEC) remains off to its worst start in league play since the 1981-82 season, and given it is just 4-6 in its last 10 games, the program is no longer a shoe-in for the NCAA Tournament as it appeared it might be after an extremely hot start to the 2021-22 campaign.

What went down on Saturday in Columbia, South Carolina? Let’s take a look at some Fastbreak Takeaways from the Gators’ first SEC win of the season.

It was over when … senior point guard Tyree Appleby sunk two free throws to push Florida’s lead to eight with 37 seconds remaining. The Gators led by as many as 13 points late in the second half but were unable to put the Gamecocks away. The hosts hit 6 of 14 3-pointers in the period and grabbed nine offensive rebounds, giving them 18 more shots than the visitors (39-21) in the latter 20 minutes.

First half focus: Florida led 21-10 midway through the period thanks to a 9-0 run and 57% shooting. It had a chance to go up 15 late, but Appleby missed fastbreak dunk off a tremendous steal. South Carolina immediately responded with a 3-pointer and outscored UF 8-3 down the stretch, cutting the Gators’ advantage to eight at the break.

Exceptional efforts: Freshman guard Kowacie Reeves got the start and nearly doubled his career-high with 14 points while making 2 of 3 treys in a career-high 23 minutes. Matching the neophyte’s scoring total with a game-high 14 points was redshirt senior G Phlandrous Fleming Jr., who made 6 of 11 shots. Senior forward Colin Castleton was not as effective as usual but still finished with 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Appleby was again inefficient but played much better with the rock, dishing a game-high six assists to just two turnovers.

Odds and ends: Despite the Gators completely outplaying the ‘Cocks offensively (55% to 35% FG), South Carolina took an astounding 26 more shots than Florida (75-49) … the hosts grabbed 21 offensive rebounds and scored 19 points off 15 UF turnovers … the Gators led for 37:24 of the 40-minute game and never lost the lead after grabbing it 2:11 into the contest …

Florida improved to 47-28 all-time against South Carolina with a 24-15 mark in Columbia … the Gators are just 4-6 against the ‘Cocks under White … the road team has won six straight games in this series … Florida won its first game against a Power Five opponent since Nov. 24, 2021, ending a five-game losing streak … the Gators are off to their worst start in SEC play (1-3) since the 1981-82 season … the Gators improved to 99-27 when allowing less than 70 points and 111-26 when scoring 70+ under White

What it means / what’s next? There’s not much value in this win for Florida, though perhaps it gives the program a bit of belief in itself after an excruciating last six weeks. After starting SEC play against three straight ranked opponents, the Gators do get a break in terms of quality of opponent. However, Florida will be playing an extensive number of games in a short period of time due to the rescheduling of their original SEC opener. UF returns home to face Mississippi State on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network, the first of four games it will play in an eight-day span.

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