Although most of us were probably enjoying seeing Tom Brady emasculate Tim Tebow, South Carolina hosted Florida this evening, losing 79-65. Kenny Boynton's 15 points led a Gators scoring attack that saw all of the starting five reach double figures, while Bruce Ellington, in his first start since rejoining the team, led Carolina with 17.
One of the key factors in this game was Carolina's need to defend the three effectively, and it failed to do so. The Gators were 12-24 from long range, taking advantage of undisciplined perimeter defense on Carolina's part. The other issue was Carolina's poor offensive performance to open the second half; after trailing at the half, the Gators opened the second half with a dominant run and never looked back. Carolina actually rebounded well in this game, and it also protected the ball fairly well, but its defensive and shooting shortcomings did it in.
Needless to say, it's very disappointing that Carolina didn't manage to win home contests with either Vanderbilt or Florida. These games presented two of the best opportunities we'll have to steal a game against one of the better teams on our schedule, and we need to win at least a couple such games if we're going to call this season redeemable. Unfortunately, we not only didn't win either game; we were only minimally competitive in both. This team has a long, long way to go right now.
Next up for Carolina is a trip to Auburn for what, in my opinion, is a must-win game for Horn and the Gamecocks. Having lost the two home games to Florida and Vanderbilt, Carolina cannot afford to lose a game to one of the SEC's bottom dwellers, whether at home or away.