Gamecocks Suffer Loss At No. 13/12 Florida
Feb. 21, 2017
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – South Carolina (20-8, 10-5 SEC) suffered an 81-66 loss on the road Tuesday evening at No. 13/12 Florida (23-5, 13-2 SEC). Senior Sindarius Thornwell had 23 points (15 in the second half) and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double (11th career) of the season to the lead the Gamecocks.
After trailing 8-3, Carolina went on a 4-0 run to make it 8-7 at the first media timeout with 15:14 left. The Gamecocks forced four turnovers early that led to five points. The Gators then made their next four shots to extend their lead to 17-10 with 13:23 to go.
The Gamecocks cut it to three twice, but the Gators pushed back ahead by six, 22-16, at the under eight media timeout with 7:36 on the clock. Two Casey Hill free throws put Florida up by double-digits for the first time with 6:11 remaining. A Hill jumper on the Gators next possession then gave them their biggest lead of the half, 28-16.
Carolina chipped away at the lead and was able to cut the deficit to five points, 28-23, with 3:35 to go after a transition 3-pointer by senior guard Duane Notice off a steal by Thornwell. Notice remained aggressive and successfully completed an and-1 to tie the game at 28 with just over two minutes left in the first half, capping a 12-0 run for the Gamecocks.
Carolina’s run was not over as Thornwell grabbed an offensive rebound, then senior Justin McKie knocked down a corner 3 to give the team its first lead of the game, 33-30 with 1:06 remaining. McKie’s 3 marked a 17-2 run by the Gamecocks after they trailed by 12, but Florida closed the half on a 5-0 run, to take a 35-33 lead at the break.
South Carolina shot just 30 percent (11-29) in the opening half but was able to force 12 turnovers that led to 12 points. Notice led the Gamecocks’ balanced offensive attack with nine points, while Thornwell had eight and Silva had seven. KeVaughn Allen led all scorers with 14 first half points.
Both teams came out of the locker room shooting it well. The Gators remained in front 44-41 at the first media timeout of the second half with 15:35 remaining. South Carolina started 4-for-7 (57 percent) after the break.
The lead remained three for Florida, 49-46, before a pair of 3s by Devin Robinson forced Frank Martin to take a timeout, his team trailing 55-46 with 11:41 to go. The Gators’ lead grew to 11, but remained at nine at the under eight media timeout with 7:08 on the clock.
Three free throws by Allen gave Florida its biggest lead, 76-61, with 4:43 to go in the ballgame. Carolina was unable break through down the stretch as the Gators posted the 81-66 win. Notice had 16 points to join Thornwell in double-figures for the Gamecocks. Allen had a game-high 26 points and was one of four players for Florida in double-figures.
Florida was efficient offensively in the second half, shooting 54 percent (13-for-24) from the field and 47 percent (6-for-9) from 3. They missed just twice at the charity stripe after halftime, finishing the game 14-of-16 (88 percent) at the line.
- Thornwell tallied his fifth-straight game with 20 or more points. The Lancaster, S.C. native, has accomplished the feat nine times in SEC play.
- He now has 28 games with 20 or more points for his career. 13 of those have come this season.
- Thornwell was 11-for-11 at the free throw line, posting his 10th perfect game of the season at the charity stripe. He’s made seven or more free throws 10 times this season for the Gamecocks.
- Freshman Sedee Keita logged a career-high with 28 minutes off the bench. He finished the game with six rebounds, one shy of tying a career high (7 vs. Memphis).
- South Carolina was 19-for-22 (86 percent) at the free throw line as a team, good for its second best percentage of the season at the line.
- The Gamecocks forced 16 turnovers Tuesday night. They’ve forced 15 or more in 14 of the team’s 15 conference games this year.
South Carolina will play two of its final three games of the regular season at home, beginning on Saturday when the Gamecocks host Tennessee at 1 p.m. ET. Carolina posted a 70-60 win in Knoxville on Jan. 11, in the first meeting between the two schools this season. Mike Morgan (pxp) and Pat Bradley (analyst) will have the call for the SEC Network.
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