Gamecocks fall hard to No. 4 Florida

Florida hands outmatched USC a loss of historical proportions

pobley@thestate.comJanuary 30, 2013 

— The stat sheets are being shredded, the video is being erased. Magnets are sweeping over hard drives and memories are being wiped.

No. 4 Florida, it would seem, is a very, very good basketball team. USC is, well, not as good.

Florida fumigated the O’Connell Center 75-36 on Wednesday night, eradicating all evidence of the Gamecocks, so if you live and die with USC, now is probably a good time to stop reading.

“I don’t think you guys need me to explain we got an absolute rear-whoopin’” said USC coach Frank Martin, who did not use the word “rear.”

It was the worst loss in SEC history for USC, eclipsing a 38-point setback (87-48) against Kentucky on Jan. 16, 2007.

It was the fewest points USC (12-8, 2-5) has scored in an SEC game. In losing by more points (39) than they scored (36), the Gamecocks also handed Martin his worst loss as a head coach.

“We didn’t do a good job,” Martin continued. “They’re real good, don’t misunderstand me. I don’t want to take anything away from Florida. They neutralized us.”

The Gators, coming off consecutive Elite Eight appearances, continued to display the dominance they’ve shown against the rest of an overmatched conference.

Florida (17-2, 7-0) entered Wednesday with an average victory margin of more than 26 points in SEC play. The Gators surpassed that figure on a Kenny Boyton 3-point goal less than two minutes into the second half for 38-10 lead.

Florida pushed ahead by 30 points (43-13) moments later on a Patric Young dunk, then expanded its lead to 40 points (62-20) on Michael Frazier’s trey at the 8:56 mark.

When walk-on Jacob Kurtz picked off Bruce Ellington and raced for an easy basket with 2:49 remaining, Florida pushed its lead to 46 points, 73-27.

“What I’ve tried to get across to these guys is, when you’re up by a large margin, that does not give you the right to not do your job,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said.

That is a lesson Florida routinely has put into practice against USC. The Gators’ previous SEC best against USC was an 84-50 thrashing on Jan. 13, 2007, three days prior to the Kentucky debacle.

USC closed with a 9-point flurry over the final two minutes, matching its production during the first 18 minutes of the game.

“We were thinking about coming back; thinking positive,” said USC freshman Michael Carrera, who scored the team’s final four points to be the only Gamecock to reach double figures with 13 points.

“(Florida) had more experience than us and we played a bad game,” he added.

Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario each had 15 points for Florida. The Gators outrebounded USC 38-24 and shot 52.8 percent while limiting the Gamecocks to 31.1 percent.

During the first half, USC missed 18 of 21 shots from the field, including all seven 3-point attempts. The Gamecocks committed 17 turnovers, 13 coming on Florida steals.

Essentially …

“They’re real good,” Martin said. “The more I studied them on tape, the more I realized there’s a reason they’ve played as well as they have this year.

“And when they play here in this building,” Martin concluded, “they take it to even another level.”

USC returns home Saturday to play host to Georgia.

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SOUTH CAROLINA (12-8)

Chatkevicius 0-3 1-2 1, Carrera 6-9 1-3 13, Jackson 1-3 0-0 2, Smith 2-8 0-0 5, Ellington 2-9 2-2 7, Williams 0-2 0-0 0, Richardson 0-1 0-0 0, Kacinas 2-2 0-0 4, Leonard 1-6 2-2 4, Slawson 0-2 0-0 0, Steele 0-0 0-0 0, Phillips 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-45 6-9 36.

FLORIDA (17-2)

Murphy 3-6 0-0 8, Young 3-6 2-7 8, Boynton 5-11 2-2 15, Rosario 6-11 1-1 15, Wilbekin 3-5 1-2 8, Kurtz 1-1 0-0 2, Ogbueze 0-1 0-0 0, Graham 0-2 0-0 0, Yeguete 1-2 1-4 3, Frazier II 4-6 0-0 12, Prather 1-1 0-0 2, Walker 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 28-53 7-16 75.

Halftime: Florida 33-10. 3-Point Goals: South Carolina 2-14 (Smith 1-3, Ellington 1-4, Williams 0-1, Slawson 0-1, Jackson 0-1, Leonard 0-4), Florida 12-21 (Frazier II 4-6, Boynton 3-6, Murphy 2-2, Rosario 2-5, Wilbekin 1-1, Graham 0-1). Fouled Out: None. Rebounds: South Carolina 24 (Carrera 9), Florida 38 (Young 8). Assists: South Carolina 8 (Ellington 3), Florida 18 (Boynton 7). Total Fouls: South Carolina 15, Florida 9. Technical: Rosario. Attendance: 10,533.

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