Florida Defensive Coordinator Larry Shyatt better be angry.
The Gators allowed South Carolina 21 three point attempts in a 72-69 loss Saturday. Florida’s defense hovered around the key throughout the game, which gave the Gamecocks plenty of time to pick their shots and grab a quick lunch before releasing the ball.
The first few minutes of the game were only a mirage of what could have been. The Gators set the tone out of the gates by using a loose laidback approach, while South Carolina seemed rushed and out of rhythm. However, the Gamecocks broke out of an 18-18 tie with around eight minutes left in the first half by going on a 9-0 run. From that point on the Gators looked lost and confused until late in the game. The Gators went flat on offense late in the first half and did not score at all in half’s final five minutes.
With four minutes left in the game it looked as if the Gamecocks had survived the last of the Gators comebacks and had the game in the bag up 59-49. That’s when Florida decided to wake up.
The Gators tied things up with 3:10 left in the game by constructing a 10-0 run led by a pair of three-pointers from Kenny Boynton and Chandler Parsons. The Gators kept the game interesting for two minutes until 1:09 left in the game. An Ervin Walker missed foul shot with led to a Sam Muldrow three-pointer and a four point swing that would be the nail in Florida’s coffin.
The Gators were horrid from the line throughout the game shooting 54.5% on 22 attempts.
It was a game that the Gamecocks should not have been able to make close. Florida lost the game because of the way they played, but South Carolina should not be discredited. For a team that has nine freshmen on its roster, five that are active, the Gamecocks looked like a seasoned SEC contender.
South Carolina was led on offense by freshman guard Bruce Ellington who had a game high 23 points. On the other side of the ball the Gamecocks relied on the shot-blocking skills of senior forward Sam Muldrow. Muldrow looked bigger and more aggressive than the entire Gator roster at times, and put a huge roadblock in any possible comeback.
The brightest spot of the game for Florida was the emergence of freshman forward Patrick Young. Young had 12 points in 19 minutes off the bench and provided a defensive spark that kept his team alive. The game’s announcers summed it up best, “He looks like Dwight Howard out there.”
The Gators were led on offense by Walker with 17 points, and Vernon Macklin and Young who added 12 each. Macklin added 12 points to anchor a defensive effort which often seemed non-existent.
The loss drops Florida to 13-4 overall and 2-1 in SEC play. The Gators now travel to Auburn Jan. 20 and will see Arkansas at home Jan. 22 in a pair of manageable conference games.
About the Author
Written by John Weidner
My name is John Weidner, and I am a Communications major at the University of North Florida. I have always had a talent for writing and communicating ideas in unique ways to others. Right now, I am learning more about how to cover and discuss different topics and ideas in the world of journalism. I consider myself a sports journalist but also am interested in covering anything that is newsworthy. I have been gaining experience as a journalist since I first joined the staff of my high school newspaper in tenth grade. I have written for numerous publications including: The Florida Times-Union, The Falcon Flyer, The UNF Spinnaker, La Plaza Magazine ,Jacksonville.com and The Ponte Vedra Recorder. I am also working on gaining other non-traditional forms of experience through different ways and am open to any opportunity that can be used as a learning experience.