A weekend to remember for the SEC led to an all-conference battle between the Cinderella South Carolina Gamecocks and the Florida Gators with the Gamecocks advancing to the Final Four with a 77-70 win at Madison Square Garden Sunday afternoon.
The Gamecocks and Gators battled back and forth for a majority of the first half as both teams defensive games seemingly propelled them into the emotions of the sold out crowd at the Garden. Two stood out from the crowd as senior guard Sindarius Thornwell scored 15 of his game high 26 points in the first half for the Gamecocks, while Justin Leon stood tall for Florida scoring 13 of his team leading 18 points in the first twenty minutes.
The Gators took a seven point lead into the half at 40-33, but the second half turned the tables on a Gators team that shot 56% from the floor, including 58% from three point range in the first half.
South Carolina’s scrappy offensive game stranded away from Thornwell’s early success and more into a team game where PJ Dozier and Maik Kotsar led a Gamecocks offensive attack that grabbed back the lead with just under 10 minutes to play. The Gators who shot so well from distance in the first half seemingly couldn’t buy a three pointer in the second half as they missed all 14 attempts in the second half.
The two teams were tied at 63 a piece with just three minutes left to play but the Gamecocks closed the game going on a 14-7 run shutting the door on Florida’s amazing 27-9 season including a trip to the Elite Eight.
KeVaughn Allen finished with 13 points for Florida, Kasey Hill finished with 11 points. The Gators shot 42% from the field, and ended the game shooting 27% from three point range.
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