Gators beat Gamecocks for first SEC win 71-63

January 15, 2022 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Phlandrous Fleming Jr. and Kowacie Reeves scored 14 points each and Florida beat South Carolina 71-63 on Saturday for its first Southeastern Conference win of the season.

Colin Castleton added 10 points, 10 points fewer than his average in conference play, but had a career-tying eight blocks plus seven rebounds. Florida (10-6, 1-3) avoided its its first 0-4 SEC start since 1950.

Chico Carter Jr. scored 12 points and Erik Stevenson added 10 for the Gamecocks (10-6, 1-3).

In its three SEC losses — all against teams ranked in the top 15 — Florida shot 40%. Against the Gamecocks, the Gators shot 55% to 35% for South Carolina.

South Carolina, which trailed by 13 after CJ Felder sparked an 8-0 Gators run with a pair of dunks, got within six after a Carter 3-pointer with 1:14 remaining. Florida ran the shot clock down then Reeves saved a rebound as he flew out of bounds. South Carolina was forced to foul and Tyree Appleby made two free throws before a final Castleton block — Florida’s 11th of the game.

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The Gamecocks only lead was 2-0. Two turnovers and three missed shots by the Gamecocks helped Florida go on a 9-0 run and take the game’s first double-digit lead at 21-10 with Elijah Kennedy capping the spurt with five points, including a 3-pointer. The lead reached 14 before South Carolina scored the final five points, including a Jacobi Wright 3-pointer to close within 36-28.

South Carolina is at Arkansas on Tuesday, while the Gators are home against Mississippi State on Wednesday.

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