The South Carolina Gamecocks bounced back from a deflating loss to Tennessee with another win over a ranked opponent, taking down the No. 20 Florida Gators with a 77-72 victory in Gainesville, Fla., on Wednesday.
Gainesville is typically a tough place for the Gamecocks to play, and with Florida’s SEC-leading 6-1 mark in league action, beating the Gators looked like it was going to be a tough ask. But the Gamecocks responded by putting together a winning formula that was rather off-script: South Carolina drained a season-best 11 3-pointers, led by Wes Myers’ season-high 22 points and his sizzling 5-of-7 mark from behind the arc. South Carolina exorcised its free-throw shooting demons from the Tennessee game as well, going 18-of-22 with four key makes by Frank Booker to seal the win.
The Gamecocks (13-7, 4-4 SEC) clung to a narrow 39-37 lead at halftime, and the Gators seized momentum with an immediate 11-0 run out of the locker room. But South Carolina settled back in, with Chris Silva schooling the Gators again to the tune of an 18-point, 12-rebound performance for his fifth double-double this season.
It was South Carolina’s first victory on the road against a ranked team since 2016, when the Gamecocks topped No. 8 Texas A&M in College Station. Florida (14-6, 6-2) had just cracked the Top 25 this week, but the Gators might find themselves out of it already. They’re just gonna have to wait on that Elite Eight revenge game, too.
Road W pic.twitter.com/GNjOqGfWvy— Gamecock MBB (@GamecockMBB) January 25, 2018
So...is it time to start talking NCAA Tournament bubble possibilities with South Carolina, or is the jury still out?
Up next: The Gamecocks return home to Columbia on Saturday for the Big 12/SEC Challenge, where they’ll face No. 14 Texas Tech.