Allowing a huge first half deficit? Check
Crappy free throw shooting? Check
Furiously closing that huge deficit, only to not have enough in the end? Check
Yes, the Gators earned their first loss of the SEC season Saturday against South Carolina, losing 72-69, because they played the exact same way they have done numerous times in the last few years and in their losses to UCF and Jacksonville. The Gators (13-4, 2-1) were 12-22 at the line, missing six free throws in the second half, including an Erving Walker 1-and-1s late in the game that could have tied the score at 63-63 or taken the lead. South Carolina (11-5, 2-1) then went back up the floor, knocked down a three pointer and UF never got close enough again.
Walker finished with 17 points, going 50 percent at the line, arc and field. Kenny Boynton and Chandler Parsons had rough games, each scoring nine points. Boynton was 3-10 from the field and Parsons was 2-5 at the line, as he continues to attend the Lee Humphrey School of Shot Making. (Parsons is shooting 51 percent from the field and 54 percent at the line.) Vernon Macklin and Patric Young scored 12 points each, with Young doing it in only 19 minutes. Alex Tyus added 10.
The Gators looked to be in trouble in the first half when they stated flat and couldn't score. South Carolina scored 35 in the first period, but UF scored 25. UF was still down 10 points with 4:39 left in the game, when they rolled off a 10-0 run to tie it at 59-59.
Florida's next game is Thursday night at Auburn.