The only people impressed with the Gators Wednesday night was the NIT committee, as the Gators lost to South Carolina 77-71. Florida (17-7, 6-4 SEC) had 20 turnovers as they allowed the Gamecocks (14-9, 5-4) to dominate the second half.
It was not just the ball handling as the Gators shot 10-23 from the free throw line. Compare it to South Carolina's 19-24 shooting, and you find one of the differences in the game. The Gamecocks also had 18 more field goal attempts, thanks to Florida getting down the floor and turning it over before attempting a shot. The Gators outrebounded SC 39-27, ending their streak of rebounding wins equaling SEC wins.
Chandler Parsons (13pts, 11reb) and Alex Tyus (11pts, 15reb) played well, each recording a double-double. But they also combined for eight turnovers, as Billy Donovan's emphasis on ball handling fell on deaf ears. Erving Walker's 20 points were spoiled by his four turnovers and 6-10 free throw shooting. Kenny Boynton had 13 points, three turnovers and never made it to the line, despite Florida getting the bonus midway through the second half. I hate to pile on, but Dan Werner has to be stopped. His 0pts, 0 reb, 5 fouls is one of the worst lines I have seen from a Gator. I expect Kyle McClanahan (2pts, 1reb) to get that line. Not a senior. Werner isn't the reason why Florida lost, but if he or McClanahan is out there, it's like giving the opponent a power play.
South Carolina played far better in the second half as they allowed the Gators to tie their own noose. Devan Downey only made six shots, but was 11-12 at the line for 24 points. Brandis Raley-Ross gave the Gators fits with his 20 points. SC big man Sam Muldrow was 7-13 shooting for 16 points and 8 boards.
In road games against major conference teams, Florida is now 3-3. Of those wins, the opponents (NC State, Arkansas, Alabama) are a combined eight games above .500. As I said at the top, the only selection committee impressed by this is the NIT. Florida's next game is Saturday against Xavier (16-7, 8-2 Atlantic 10).