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Florida Gators vs. South Carolina Gamecocks Pick & Prediction JAN 15TH 2022

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Logo South Carolina Gamecocks

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The Florida Gators have opened Southeastern Conference play with three defeats for the first time in four decades.

That the three losses have come to ranked teams is of little consolation to the Gators (9-6, 0-3), who will face South Carolina (10-5, 1-2) on Saturday afternoon in Columbia, S.C.

"We have to get this thing going," Florida coach Mike White said. "We've proven to be capable. This team hasn't handled adversity very well. We've got to get some type of mojo back."

The most recent time the Gators were 0-3 in the SEC was in the 1980-81 season, when they eventually stumbled through a 5-13 league season (12-16 overall).

This season, the Gators have lost SEC games to Alabama, Auburn and LSU -- teams ranked 15th, ninth and 12th, respectively, at the time of the games.

Wednesday's 64-58 home defeat against No. 12 LSU was winnable after a strong comeback. With LSU starting guard Xavier Pinson out and big men Tari Eason and Efton Reid fouling out in the second half, Florida cut the Tigers' lead to two.

However, the Gators missed seven of nine free throws late and 11 of 22 for the game.

South Carolina has lost to two SEC teams that are ranked -- No. 9 Auburn and No. 22 Tennessee -- and ball security and a lack of production from the Gamecocks' big men were major issues Tuesday in the 66-46 loss to the Volunteers.

Coach Frank Martin's group committed 23 turnovers -- 12 in a close first half -- and saw the defensive-minded Vols lock down the paint in Knoxville, Tenn.

"We're up 22-20 with 1:30 to go in the half, and by halftime we're down six," Martin said. "We just had too many turnovers. If we don't turn the ball over 12 times in the first half, we'd be in good shape."

Winners of seven of eight on its home court, South Carolina scored just 16 points in the paint and shot 35 percent from the field in the road loss.

"(Early in the second half) we're down 12 to the best defensive team in the country," Martin added. "That's a tough hill to climb."

--Field Level Media

Florida Gators
South Carolina Gamecocks

Florida Gators vs. South Carolina Gamecocks Recap JAN 15TH 2022

Florida's Phlandrous Fleming Jr. and Kowacie Reeves each scored 14 points as the Gators broke into the Southeastern Conference win column with a 71-63 victory over South Carolina Saturday at Columbia, S.C.

After falling 64-58 on Wednesday at home to No. 12 LSU, the Gators (10-6, 1-3 SEC) dropped their first three conference games since the 1980-81 season.

On Saturday, Florida limited the Gamecocks to 34.7 percent shooting (26 of 75) and kept its SEC losing streak from reaching four, a mark that would have matched the 1950-51 team's start.

South Carolina (10-6, 1-3), which led for only 17 seconds at 2-0, trailed by as many as 13 in the first half and cut the deficit to four in the second half at 52-48 with 9:26 remaining. But the Gators advantage reached double digits again at 60-49 just over four minutes later.

Florida's Colin Castleton had 10 points and seven rebounds. The Michigan transfer also matched a career-high with eight blocked shots.

Florida made 55.1 percent of its shots (27 of 49) and owned a 34-20 scoring edge in the paint as the Gators won for just the fourth time in their past 10 games.

Losing for just the second time in nine home outings, South Carolina received 12 points from Chico Carter Jr. and 10 from Erik Stevenson. Keyshawn Bryant had eight rebounds.

Florida blocked 11 shots to South Carolina's three and held an assist advantage of 17-10.

In the first half, South Carolina missed 11 of 14 shots, allowing Florida to build a 12-8 lead seven minutes into the game. A steal by Myreon Jones and a 3-pointer by Elijah Kennedy gave the Gators their first double-digit lead at 21-10 with 11:04 remaining in the first half.

Florida held its first 13-poingt lead at 33-20 when Jones launched a long jumper above the top of the key with 2:49 left in the half.

However, Devin Carter's jumper and Jacobi Wright's 3-pointer cut South Carolina's deficit to 36-28 on an 11-5 run to reach halftime.

--Field Level Media

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