Jan. 29, 2005
By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – David Lee had 18 points and 10 rebounds to help Florida beat South Carolina 80-72 Saturday, extending its winning streak against the Gamecocks to eight games.
South Carolina, which remained winless in six games on the road this season, rallied from an 18-point deficit early in the second half and cut the lead to five. But the Gators put the game away with three key plays with less than 6 minutes remaining.
Corey Brewer had a steal, layup and free throw to push the lead to 72-62. South Carolina answered, then the Gators (13-4, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) had an unlikely possession that ended with Lee’s dunk.
Anthony Roberson missed a driving baseline layup, Al Horford got the rebound but had his shot blocked by Renaldo Balkman. Horford got the ball back and was blocked again by Balkman. Matt Walsh then slapped the loose ball to Lee, who was alone under the basket.
Again, the Gamecocks (11-7, 3-4) answered and could have gotten even closer but missed a 3-pointer. Brewer then drew a foul in the lane with the shot clock winding down. His free throw made it a nine-point game with 2:11 to play. Brewer finished with 12 points, and Roberson had 15.
The Gators made four of five free throws down the stretch to eliminate another comeback.
The first rally came thanks to seldom-used guard Dwayne Day. He made 14 consecutive points for the Gamecocks. He had four 3-pointers and a baseline dunk that turned a 17-point lead into a seven-point deficit.
Day didn’t score again, though, and missed two 3-pointers in the closing minutes.
Carlos Powell led South Carolina with 18 points and seven rebounds and incited the crowd during the team’s second-half surge.
The Gamecocks also played without center Antoine Tisby, who didn’t make the trip because of “time management problems,” coach Dave Odom said. Odom also benched guard Josh Gonner for the second half in what he called a coach’s decision.