The Florida Gators men’s basketball team (17-10, 8-6 SEC) took a tough loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks (22-5, 9-5 SEC) in overtime on Saturday afternoon in Columbia, South Carolina at 73-69.
KeVaughn Allen took off with a layup from the tip to give the Gators an early lead, but that did not last for long. The Gamecocks quickly answered to tie up the game at 2, before tying up again at 4 just a minute later.
This left fans thinking they were going to have a close basketball game that would be back-and-forth with the lead. That is until South Carolina took off with a little 5-0 run to give them some breathing room.
While Florida played with a lot of effort, the Orange and Blue could not get its shots to fall, which allowed South Carolina to get a 17-point lead with 7:12 to go. That is when Dorian Finney-Smith — who had been quiet on the offense end of the ball thus far — broke out eleven points during an impressive 20-0 run to end the first half. Devin Robinson put the exclamation point on the Gators run with a clutch three-pointer to give Florida the lead of 33-30 as they headed into the locker room for halftime.
Coming back from the half, Finney-Smith continued to put points up with two free throws that extended Florida’s lead to five and extended the run to 22-0. The Gators continued to hold on the lead and stretched it to a high of seven points after a dunk by Kevarrius Hayes with 18:17 to go.
The Gamecocks fought to get back in the game until they were able to pull off a tie and then the lead off of a pair of free throws, putting the score at 43-42 with 11:10 on the clock.
Florida managed to come back with a little 4-0 run with a jumper from Justin Leon and a pretty dunk from Robinson to take back the lead with 9:43 on the clock. The game continued to bounce back and forth with both teams unable to go off on a run.
The game tied three more times over the last 7 minutes, with the final tie being at 64 with 20 seconds on the clock. The Florida Gators were now headed into their first overtime of the season.
Overtime started off with a South Carolina possession and they took full advantage making a quick jumper. However, Robinson quickly answered and tipped one in for the Gators to tie up the game once again with 4:12 left.
The Gamecocks kept the game interesting as they tipped one in as well, taking the lead back once more. That’s when Chris Chiozza stepped up with a crucial basket from downtown to give Florida a one-point lead with 2:42 to go.
Just when things started to look up, the Gators sent the Cocks to the line twice which allowed for four points off of free throws. This put the Gators down by three with just 25.3 seconds to go.
Chiozza went to take another three-point shot but got rim instead of net. Then Egbunu fouled on South Carolina’s Michael Carrera who stretched the Gamecocks lead to four points with just 6 seconds left.
The Florida Gators men’s basketball team was not able to come back that short amount of time and ended the game with a close loss at 73-69.