Gators finally earn first road win
It took until mid-January, but Florida finally put together a complete effort on the road.
The Gators (14-4, 2-1 SEC) had six players reach double-figures and brought more intensity on defense in their 79-65 win over South Carolina. The Gators improved to 1-4 on the road after dropping previous games at Ohio State, Syracuse, Rutgers and Tennessee.
"It means a lot," Florida junior guard Kenny Boynton said. "We're tired of hearing 0-4 on the road. We feel like it's a new season, the SEC season. Now we're 1-1 on the road. We've just got to keep it going."
Florida now gets bye week before its next matchup Saturday at home against LSU. The week will give Florida some time to shore up some issues on the defensive end of the floor.
South Carolina shot 62.5 percent from the field in the first half against Florida, taking a 41-40 lead into halftime. But the Gators held South Carolina to just 24 points in the second half, going on a 14-0 run early in the second half to break the game open.
"Our focus level was there defensively," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "We just probably didn't have the results on the stat sheet that we would have liked in the first half and it was better in the second half."
Offensively, Florida played a selfless game, scoring its 25 baskets off 19 assists.
"We shared the ball well and made good decisions," Donovan said.
Florida broke out of a two-game shooting slump, going 12-for-24 from 3-point range against South Carolina. The Gators had been 14-for-43 (32.3) percent from 3-point range in their first two SEC games. Florida led the nation with 195 3-pointers made, entering Sunday.
After having an assist-to-turnover ratio of 50 to 69 in its first four road losses, Florida did a much better job taking care of the ball against South Carolina. The Gators finished with 19 assists to 19 turnovers. Overall, Florida led the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.5-1, entering the week.
Florida PF Will Yeguete, on starting for C Patric Young against South Carolina: "Pat is a pretty big part of this team and our whole team had to step up. It wasn't only me."
QUOTE TO NOTE
"You show a lot of people about your team when you are playing in somebody else's house. Collectively, we have to stay together as one. I felt like we did a great job at that tonight and we've got to keep moving forward," Florida junior G Mike Rosario, on UF picking up its first road win of the season.