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Gators Men's Basketball Andrew Nembhard v. South Carolina
Andrew Nembhard advances the ball versus South Carolina on January 7, 2020. Nembhard recorded 21 points and 10 assists en route to the Gators' win. (Credit @GatorsMBK on Twitter)

Gators Men’s Basketball Grabs Road Win Over South Carolina, 81-68

The Florida Gators Men’s Basketball team defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks 81-68 on Tuesday.

With this win, the Gators advance to 10-4 on the season and 2-0 in the SEC. South Carolina drops to 8-6 on the season and 0-1 in SEC play.

Andrew Nembhard led all scorers with 21 points and 10 assists.

Keyontae Johnson had 19 points with 8 rebounds, and Scottie Lewis had 15 points with 9 rebounds.

Game rewind

Both teams came into Tuesday’s game looking for their identity offensively, but Florida found theirs in spades on Tuesday.

Shots came early and often as Florida and South Carolina both shot over 50% from the field in the early part of the game.

Things came back down to Earth for both teams, as Florida finished the game making 47% of their shots while South Carolina made only 38% of theirs. Florida pulled away as they hit deep shots with more regularity in the second half, making 3 three-pointers in crunch time.

Florida held South Carolina’s best scorer, A.J. Lawson, to 12 points. Containing such a volatile scorer aided the Gators in their second SEC win of the season.

South Carolina could not take care of the ball, totaling 14 turnovers in the game. Regularly, Gamecock players would throw the ball over their teammates’ heads in an attempt to make a long pass. Florida capitalized off of these turnovers, scoring 17 points off of turnovers.

Key contributors

It was the Andrew Nembhard show on Tuesday night, as the Canadian sophomore posted a double-double and his second straight game scoring more than 20 points.

Everything Nembhard tried worked against the Gamecocks. His 10 assists are reflective of his dominance as a floor general. Earlier in the week, head coach Mike White called Nembhard the quarterback of his team’s offense and it showed against South Carolina.

Scottie Lewis filled up the stat sheet, recording 15 points, grabbing 9 rebounds, and snagging a steal and a block. His athleticism and ability to get in positions quickly helped him grab rebounds and steals with ease.

 

Kerry Blackshear Jr. played a total of 4 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. Freshman Omar Payne grabbed 8 rebounds in Blackshear’s absence in the first half. Payne helped the Gators nearly double the Gamecocks’ rebound total through the first 20 minutes.

Blackshear would play well in the second half scoring 11 points and grabbing 5 boards. His ability to get to the line and make free-throws helped the team gain their confidence to draw fouls. Leading up to this game, Mike White talked about how his team draws on Blackshear’s confidence from the line.

Despite not having Blackshear in the first half, the Gators played got in a rhythm in the first half that would propel them to their 3rd straight win.

What’s next

The Gators Men’s Basketball team travels to take on the Missouri Tigers on January 11 at 8:30 p.m.

South Carolina travels to Tennessee to take on the Volunteers on January 11 at 1 p.m.

About Steven Walker

Steven Walker is a beat writer for ESPN Gainesville and is currently studying Journalism & Sports Media at the University of Florida.

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