Gamecocks fall to Gators

Kenny Boynton scored 24 points and No. 11 Florida survived a sluggish offensive showing for a 74-66 victory over visiting South Carolina on Thursday.

Bradley Beal had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Gators (18-4, 6-1 SEC), who shot only 37.3 percent from the field, 11 percentage points below their season average.

Florida, which ran out to a 17-point first-half lead, extended its winning streak at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center to 18 games.

The Gators hit 13 of their first 23 shots from the field, using a 14-2 run to build its early cushion.

Florida led 13-8 five minutes into the first half before opening up the big lead. Boynton scored five points during the run, Mike Rosario added four points and Beal’s layup with 9:50 left before halftime gave the Gators a 27-10 advantage.

The Gators, though, went cold offensively and South Carolina (9-12, 1-6) didn’t quit. The Gamecocks cut the deficit to 37-28 at halftime, then pulled within 61-56 with 2:52 remaining on back-to-back 3-pointers from Bruce Ellington and Anthony Gill.

Damontre Harris played a great game on both ends for South Carolina, finishing with 12 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots. Ellington scored 15.

Florida is second in the SEC, 1½ games behind Kentucky.

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