Saturday , Jan , 13 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Gators and Gamecocks square off in SEC clash

Columbia, SC (Sports Network) – The second-ranked and defending national
champion Florida Gators hit the road this weekend, as they make the trip to
Columbia to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks in SEC action from the
Colonial Center.

Billy Donovan’s Gators have certainly looked like they can successfully defend
their national title having won 15 of their first 17 games this season. The
team brings an eight-game win streak into this contest and moved to a perfect
2-0 in league play with a 79-72 win over Arkansas on Tuesday.

Trying to derail the Gators will be the Gamecocks, who have not fared well of
late, dropping back-to-back games to Kansas (70-54) and most recently,
Georgia (80-56). The loss to the Bulldogs was the SEC-opener for USC.

Florida holds a 30-19 edge in the all-time series with South Carolina. The
Gamecocks actually won both regular season affairs a year ago, but Florida
got revenge in the SEC Title game, 49-47.

The defending champs are getting it done at both ends of the court this year.
The Gators are shooting a scorching .539 from the field and led the nation in
that category coming into the week. Florida boasts of a +25.4 scoring margin,
averaging 83.1 ppg, while allowing a mere 57.7. Four of the team’s five
starters are averaging double figures, led by Taurean Green’s 13.8 ppg. Green
is shooting .507 from the floor, which includes .430 from behind the arc (34-
of-79). Corey Brewer is next in the scoring column with 13.1 ppg. Joakim Noah
and Al Horford finish things off with 12.3 and 12.1 ppg, respectively. They
also provide plenty of help on the boards, averaging just over eight caroms
apiece. In the win over the Razorbacks, all five starters finished in double
figures, led by Green’s 17 points. Brewer added 13 points in the win, followed
by Noah (11 pts), Lee Humphrey (11 pts) and Horford (10 pts).

The Gamecocks fell behind early and could never mount much of an attack after
that, as Georgia made light work of South Carolina in the team’s SEC opener
this week. Dwayne Day and Dominique Archie were the only players to finish in
double figures for the Gamecocks, posting 14 and 10 points, respectively. USC
shot a mere .345 from the floor in the game. There isn’t a whole lot of
offensive punch on the South Carolina roster this year, outside of Tre’ Kelley
and Brandon Wallace. Kelley does it all for this team, leading the way both as
a scorer (15.7 ppg) and distributor (5.0 apg). Wallace provides the muscle in
the paint. averaging 11.6 ppg, while hauling in a hefty 9.4 caroms per game.
Four others are netting just over eight points per game, but none have shown
the ability to step up on a regular basis and give the team a viable third
option at the offensive end. The team as a whole is shooting a mediocre .431
from the floor this year, resulting in just 64.4 ppg.