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Jan 24, 2018; Gainesville, FL, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks forward Chris Silva (30) shoots over Florida Gators forward Kevarrius Hayes (13) during the second half at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

No. 20 Florida Falls to Unranked South Carolina Once Again

The No. 20 Florida Gators were unable to stop Chris Silva and Wesley Myers as the South Carolina Gamecocks pulled out the 77-72 victory on Wednesday night. Myers finished with a season-high 22 points on 5-7 shooting from beyond the arc, while Chris Silva posted his fifth double-double of the season. The Gamecocks shot 50% from the field and long-range in the second half and went 8-10 from the foul line. The Gators went 3-12 from deep in the second half and only scored 4 points in the final 2 minutes and 24 seconds of the game.

Jalen Hudson and Egor Koulechov tied for the team-lead with 16 points apiece, while Chris Chiozza finished the game with 10 points, 8 assists and 3 rebounds. Florida was able to get to the rim effectively, outscoring South Carolina in the paint 28-20, but was unable to find consistent offense late in the second half. The Gamecocks forced only two more giveaways than the Gators, but scored 12 more points off of turnovers.

Final Five Thoughts

  • 1. Florida made a concerted, unsuccessful effort to double-team Chris Silva. Florida made it their goal from the tip to double-team Chris Silva in the post whenever they had the chance to do so. The junior forward is the Gamecocks’ most deadly offensive weapon and Mike White and the Gators treated him as such. Despite the effort, Florida had a tough time stopping Silva who finished with his fifth double-double of the season. The Gabon-native ended the game with 18 points and 12 rebounds on 8-9 shooting from the foul line.
  • 2. Three-Point anomaly for South Carolina: South Carolina, who ranks 288th out of 351 Division I teams in three-point percentage and is shooting 31.4% from beyond the arc in conference play somehow hit 11 of their 21 attempts from long-range. Wesley Myers, a double-transfer from Niagara and Maine, went 5-7 from deep. You know what they say; even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. 
  • 3. Driving aggressively to the paint: Florida abandoned their best offense late in the second half in favor of bad three-pointers. The Gators outscored the Gamecocks in the paint in large part to their ability to get to the rim and drive-and-dish when the double-team came. Had UF stuck to their most effective offense, they may have been victorious on Wednesday night.
  • 4. Ball movement is slow when Chiozza is out: Chris Chiozza only played 12 minutes in the first half due to early foul trouble. When the Gators’ floor general left the court, the team’s offense seemed to stagnate with a whole lot of standing around the perimeter and not a lot of movement. Florida needs Chiozza on the floor as much as possible. Michael Okauru shows a lot of potential, but can’t command an offense even half as well as the Gators’ senior point guard can.
  • 5. Dontay Bassett played the quality minutes the Gators needed him to: Dontay Bassett played a career-high 13 minutes en route to a career-high 9 points. Bassett sunk 5 of his 7 attempts from the free throw line and made both of his two attempts from the field. The redshirt freshman looked a bit lost during the Gators’ game vs. Kentucky, but got into a good rhythm vs. the South Carolina Wildcats on Wednesday night. Despite the progression, Bassett still needs to work on his low-post defense and defensive rebounding. He only had 1 rebound vs. SCAR.

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