College Hoops

FINAL: Florida 81, South Carolina 60

FINAL: Florida 81, South Carolina 60

WHAT HAPPENED: Fifth-year senior forward Colin Castleton scored 18 points to lead five Florida players into double-figure scoring as the Gators blew out visiting South Carolina 81-60 for their most lopsided Southeastern Conference victory Wednesday night at Exactech Arena/O’Connell Center. In what was their best all-around offensive performance of the season, the Gators also got a career-best 14 points from freshman guard Riley Kugel, 13 from wing Kowacie Reeves and 10 each from guards Will Richard and Kyle Lofton, but it was fifth-year senior Myreon Jones, who did not hit double figures, who posted the best stat line of the evening. Jones had nine points and career highs of 10 rebounds and eight assists, falling shy of becoming just the fourth player in UF history to tally a triple-double. The win was UF’s fifth in the last six games and was much-needed given the brutal paddlewheel of games that lie immediately ahead (read on). Unlike previous home games, the Gators didn’t start slow, but it was anybody’s game early in the second half, with UF ahead by just six. The Gators, though, used an 12-2 run early in the period to take the lead out to 16 before the first media timeout and jumped ahead by 20 after another run of nine straight points minutes later, coasting home from there. Castleton overpowered the Gamecocks up front, hitting seven of his 10 field-goal attempts and got to the free-throw line to make four of five times. He also carded three rebounds, three assists and three blocks. 
Florida shot 47 percent for the game (with 21 assists) and was well over 60 percent in the second half — and coasting by 30 — when the Gators began emptying their bench. The Gamecocks were limited to 36.7 percent for the night, making for a seventh game in eight SEC outings that Florida has held an opponent under 40 percent. USC was led by freshman forward Grady “GG” Jackson II, the projected NBA lottery pick, who tallied game highs of 20 points and 10 rebounds. 

Fifth-year forward Colin Castleton throws down a dunk to start Wednesday night’s game against the Gamecocks. 

WHAT IT MEANS: The Gators were sitting at No. 44, as of before Wednesday’s tip-off, and thus have the sixth-best NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rating in the SEC. They remain in a tie for fifth place in the league standings with Kentucky, but are about to embark on one of the most difficult stretches of games in program history, with three of the next four against…

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