Andrew Nembhard scored 21 points and had 10 assists and Keyontae Johnson added 19 points to lead Florida to an 81-68 victory against South Carolina on Tuesday night in a Southeastern Conference game at Columbia, S.C.
Scottie Lewis scored 15 points for the Gators (10-4, 2-0 SEC), who led the final 28 minutes. Kerry Blackshear Jr., scoreless in the first half, finished with 11 points and hit 7 of 10 from the foul line.
Maik Kotsar’s 18 points led four double-figure scorers for Gamecocks (8-6, 0-1), who shot 38.3 percent overall (23 of 60) and 26.7 percent (4 of 15) from 3-point range. Kotsar also had 10 rebounds.
Blackshear’s free throw and Nembhard’s 3-pointer gave Florida a 77-68 lead with 2:04 left. South Carolina did not threaten after that. The Gators won the board battle, 42-30.
Florida built a 61-53 lead at 10:07 with a 7-0 run that included Lewis’ jumper and five free throws (two by Nembhard, three by Blackshear). But Justin Minaya’s two free throws, TJ Moss’ jumper and A.J. Lawson’s free throw made it 61-58 at 8:15.
The Gators then answered with an 8-2 run to go up 69-60 with 5:31 to go. Johnson had five points and Nembhard a 3-pointer in the spurt.
Johnson scored 10 points as the Gators took a 40-37 halftime lead. Florida shot 50 percent (16 of 32) in the first half and outrebounded South Carolina, 20-12.
UF leading scorer and rebounder Blackshear was limited to two minutes in the first half. He earned his second foul at 12:50 and did not play the rest of the period.
Kotsar had 10 points for the Gamecocks, who sank 13 of 14 first-half free throws. The Gators were 5 of 7 from the foul line.
Ques Glover’s jumper put ahead Florida 40-33 — matching its largest first-half lead — 1:32 before intermission. Trae Hannibal’s layup and two free throws by Jalyn McCreary then pulled South Carolina within three points.
—Field Level Media