GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- South Carolina might want to face
Florida again in the Southeastern Conference tournament.
It's about the only league team the Gamecocks match up really
Tre' Kelley scored 17 points, made three free throws in the
final 26 seconds and had a key steal down the stretch that helped
South Carolina upset the Gators (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today; No. 7 AP) 71-67 on Wednesday
The Gamecocks (12-10, 3-6) ended the second-longest home winning
streak in the nation at 20 games and swept Florida for the first
time since the 1997-98 season.
The teams could meet again in the second round of the conference
tournament next month, which might pose another problem for Florida
"We believed the whole time we could beat these types of
teams," Kelley said, lumping a close loss at Kentucky in with the
two wins over Florida. "We're not coming out just to play. We're
coming out to win basketball games."
Florida's Lee Humphrey hit his fourth 3-pointer to make it 69-67
with about 20 seconds to play, then Kelley missed one of two free
throws to give the Gators a final chance.
But Brandon Wallace blocked Taurean Green's 3-point shot, and
the Gamecocks became the first road team to celebrate a victory in
the O'Connell Center since Tennessee beat Florida 83-76 in overtime
on Jan. 19, 2005.
"You're so motivated when you come into an arena like Rupp or
Florida," said Tarence Kinsey, who scored 16 points before fouling
out with 2:14 remaining. "Everybody's kind of on the same page."
South Carolina won this one from 3-point range.
The Gamecocks made seven 3-pointers in the first half and added
two huge ones on consecutive possessions after Florida built a
four-point lead with 4:06 remaining. They finished 10-of-21 from
behind the arc.
"This game was all about the 3-point line and our ability to
guard it," Gators coach Billy Donovan said. "They made very, very
timely 3-point shots. ... The great equalizer in college basketball
is the 3-point line. It's the No. 1 stat I look at."
Kelley had two treys, including a bank shot. He also had a big
steal with about a minute to play that forced the Gators to start
Joakim Noah was about to go up for an easy dunk when Kelley
batted the ball out of his hands. Florida fouled Kelley and he hit
two free throws to push the lead to four, 66-62. Following Kelley's
two, the Gamecocks went 5-of-8 from the free-throw line in the
Bryce Sheldon, who entered the game averaging 3.6 points, made
four 3-pointers and finished with a season-high 14 points for the
Noah led the Gators with 15. Green and Humphrey had 14 each.
The Gators lost at South Carolina two weeks ago because they
allowed 14 offensive rebounds and committed 17 turnovers. They lost
Wednesday because they couldn't defend the perimeter.
"We still didn't play to our capabilities, but I guess I can't
even say they wanted it more than we did," Florida forward Chris
Richard said. "They didn't really out-hustle us. They beat us from
the 3-point line. We didn't do a good job, guards and bigs,
guarding the perimeter. That's how we lost."