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Johnson's 3-pointer lifts No. 18 South Carolina to 82-76 comeback victory over No. 24 Florida
Men's Basketball  . 

Johnson's 3-pointer lifts No. 18 South Carolina to 82-76 comeback victory over No. 24 Florida

South Carolina Athletics

Gamecocks win third-straight and pickup team's 24th win of the season, T-4th most single-season victories in program history

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Meechie Johnson scored 25 points including a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 43.4 seconds to play as No. 18 South Carolina rallied for an 82-76 victory over No. 24 Florida on Saturday.

The Gamecocks (24-5, 12-4 Southeastern Conference) trailed 56-46 with 12 minutes to play, but behind Johnson and Collin Murray-Boyles turned things around with a 26-12 surge in front of a cheering crowd. They kept themselves in the chase for an SEC title, a game behind co-leaders No. 4 Tennessee and No. 14 Alabama when the day started.

The Gators (20-9, 10-6) had relied on strong defense to build their second-half lead, but could not contain Johnson, the team’s top scorer this season. His driving layup with five minutes to play gave South Carolina its first lead since early in the game, 65-63, and he followed with a pair of tie-breaking shots including his 3.

Florida tied things at 74-all with 1:12 left on Walter Clayton Jr.’s sixth 3-pointer before Johnson struck for the game-winner.

Murray-Boyles, a freshman, finished with his first career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Jacobi Wright had 16 points, 12 in the first half, to keep South Carolina close enough to rally down the stretch.

Clayton had 20 points and Zyon Pullin scored 18 for the Gators.


  • South Carolina erased a nine-point deficit over the final 11:29 of regulation to secure their 12th SEC victory of the season. The Gamecocks forced eight turnovers out of the 1-3-1 defense and shot 53.3 percent (8-for-15) over the final 11:29 of play.


  • Junior guard Meechie Johnson led all scorers with 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting. It marks back-to-back 20 plus performances and the 13th time he’s led the Gamecocks in scoring. Carolina improves to 10-3 over the last two seasons when Johnson scores 20 or more.
  • Freshman forward Collin Murray-Boyles collected his first career double-double scoring 15 points, adding 11 rebounds to lead the Garnet & Black on the glass. It marks back-to-back games he has secured 10 or more rebounds, and he recorded a new career-high nine made free throws shooting 90.0 percent (9-for-10) at the charity stripe today.
  • Over his last eight games, Murray-Boyles is averaging 16.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. He’s 53-of-77 from the floor (68.8 percent) and 24-of-28 at the free throw line (85.7 percent).
  • Junior guard Jacobi Wright had 16 critical points (12 in the first half) including four triples. Carolina improves to 8-0 in games this season when he scores 10 or more.
  • Graduate guard Ta’Lon Cooper led South Carolina in passing for the 20th game this season, dishing out four helpers. Cooper entered 8th in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.51:1) and fourth in the SEC in assists per game averaging (4.4) per contest. Cooper added 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting, knocking down three triples.
  • Carolina has had 13 single-digit turnover games this season which sets a new program record since joining the SEC in 1991-92. The 2007-08 team had 12 games with single-digit giveaways, which was the most by a Gamecock team prior.
  • Sophomore guard Zachary Davis was vital on the defensive end for South Carolina leading the Gamecocks at the top of their 1-3-1 defense. Davis forced two key steals down the stretch of regulation and added eight points, making all six of his foul shots.
  • Carolina is now 15-3 in games decided by 10 or less points this season with the only losses at No. 24/20 Clemson, vs. Georgia on Jan. 16 and vs. LSU on Feb. 17.
  • The win gives the Gamecocks 12 SEC wins, which ties the 2016-17 team for the second most SEC wins all-time at Carolina. This year marks the eighth time the Gamecocks have won 10 or more SEC games.
  • Head coach Lamont Paris now has 24 wins this season, the most by a second-year head coach in program history. George Felton is second behind Paris with 19 wins in his second season (1987-88).
  • Twenty-four victories is now T-4th most in program history for a single season with the 1971-72 and 1996-97 teams.
  • The victory today is the team’s third straight and its third win over a top-25 opponent this season (all in SEC play). The Gamecocks were 3-17 against top-25 opponents the last four seasons and are 3-2 against ranked teams this year.


Carolina (23-5, 12-4 SEC) remains home for another top-25 matchup against the No. 4/4 Tennessee Volunteers (22-6, 12-3 SEC) on Wednesday night. Tom Hart (pxp) and Jimmy Dykes (analyst) will be on the call again for the ESPN2 broadcast. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. (ET) with doors opening 1 hour prior.