Senior forward Chris Silva scored all 18 of his points in the second half, including the game-winning dunk with 2.5 seconds remaining, lifting the South Carolina Gamecocks to a 71-69 comeback win over the Florida Gators in Gainesville, Fla., on Saturday night.
After Florida center Kevarrius Hayes made the second of two free throws to tie the score at 69 with 3.5 seconds remaining, South Carolina sophomore forward Felipe Haase threw a full length inbounds pass over two Florida defenders and into the hands of Silva, who made the wide-open dunk for the winning score.
Senior guard Hassani Gravett led the Gamecocks (6-7, 1-0 SEC) with 22 points.
The Gamecocks rallied from down 14 points with about 11 minutes left in the second half to pull off the win.
Down 65-56 with about seven minutes left, South Carolina went on a 9-0 run, tying the score at 65 on a jumper in the lane by freshman Keyshawn Bryant.
Florida (8-5, 0-1 SEC) had its three-game win streak snapped. The Gators struggled offensively down the stretch, failing to score a field goal in the final 7:17 of the game.
Freshman guard Noah Locke led three Florida players in double figures with 17 points. Senior guard KeVaughn Allen added 10 points, while freshman point guard Andrew Nembhard had 10 points and seven assists.
Florida jumped to an early 9-1 lead behind a pair of 3-pointers from Locke and another from Allen. The Gators extended their first half lead to as many as 13 points, going up 30-17 on an Allen 3-pointer.
But South Carolina answered with a 13-2 run, cutting Florida’s lead to 32-30 on a driving bank shot by Haase.
Allen put Florida up 36-32 at halftime with a driving layup.
Both teams struggled to control the basketball in a ragged first half. South Carolina had 15 turnovers, while the Gators turned the ball over 11 times.
—Field Level Media