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January 8, 2014

Instant Analysis: Gators win SEC opener



No. 10 Florida (12-2, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) won a historically-relevant game Wednesday night in a 74-58 rout of South Carolina (7-7, 0-1 SEC). The Gators won their 24th consecutive home game, tying a school record. Instant Analysis takes a look.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: The Gators went on a 20-8 run about midway through the second half to ice a game that was briefly in doubt despite a lopsided first half.

HE STOLE THE SHOW: Billy Donovan has challenged senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin recently as his performances have taken a dive the past few games. He answered against the Gamecocks by scoring a game-high 17 points to go alongside three assists, one rebound and zero turnovers. But the game had an unfortunate ending for Wilbekin. During a drive late in the game, Wilbekin landed poorly and immediately grabbed his right ankle. He could not put any weight on his right foot as he was being helped off the floor.

THE STAT DOESN'T LIE: It took South Carolina 563 seconds - or nine minutes and 23 seconds - to make its first field goal of the game. During that drought, the Gamecocks had more turnovers than attempted shots while registering three points on free throws.

WHAT A PLAY: Freshman point guard Kasey Hill had another up and down night, but - per usual - he was pretty special when on the up. On a quick transition play, Hill drove straight to the hoop, drawing defenders in before dishing the ball swiftly back to Casey Prather, who finished the play with a first-half dunk. Prather scored 13 and has reached double figures in every game this season.

THE BOTTOM LINE: South Carolina is one of the worst SEC teams that will come through the O'Connell Center this season, and for large portions of Wednesday night's game, the Gamecocks lived up to that billing. There were 21 turnovers and 20 fouls compared to nine assists. But Florida rarely took full advantage of until it pulled away late thanks in large part to being out-rebounde28-25 and 14 missed 3-point shots. Still, a 16-point win in a conference opener is nothing to frown about.


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