It appeared the South Carolina basketball team had shaken off some rust from the past week with 7:12 remaining in the first half of Saturday’s game against Florida. The Gamecocks led 30-13 and appeared to be comfortably on their way to their first victory in more than a week.
It wasn’t that easy. The Gators staged an incredible 20-0 run to close out the half leading, 33-30. Suddenly, the Gamecocks had fallen into the same lull that doomed them in consecutive losses to Kentucky and Missouri.
But unlike those previous defeats, the Gamecocks didn’t fold. South Carolina bounced back in the second half, and eventually outlasted the pesky Gators in overtime, 73-69.
“That was a gut check game for our guys,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said according to Gatorsports.com’s Kevin Brockway.
The Gamecocks certainly showed some guts on Saturday in a much-needed bounce-back victory. South Carolina was bludgeoned by 27 points against Kentucky in its most recent home game a week ago, and carried that loss into a horrendous letdown against lowly Missouri a few days later. Martin said the loss to Kentucky had his team licking its wounds a bit.
“Kentucky came in here and broke our spirit,” Martin said according to The State’s David Cloninger. “We walked around for four or five days wounded.”
Saturday’s victory represented a rebirth in a sense for South Carolina. The Gamecocks should be safely within the NCAA Tournament field with two weeks left in the regular season. But South Carolina still has plenty to prove in what’s been a breakout campaign.
“I opened all the jobs up,” Martin said according to Cloninger. “It’s Day 1 of practice all over again. Brand-new season.”