GAINESVILLE, Fla. — KeVaughn Allen scored 26 points to lead No. 13 Florida to an 81-66 victory over South Carolina at Exactech Arena on Tuesday night. Complete Game Box Score
Allen shot 5-of-7 from the floor with three 3-pointers and made 13-of-14 from the free-throw line, while grabbing seven rebounds in a team-high 36 minutes on the court.
“It was really big just to see the ball go through the hole,” said Allen, who went 4-of-12 from the floor and shot 33-percent in the last game against Mississippi State.
“It gave me a lot of confidence throughout the game.”
“KeVaughn Allen obviously was geeked up to come here and play,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said after the game.
Devin Robinson shot 5-of-9 from the field and added 14 points, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals for Florida, which collected 12 points from Chris Chiozza and 10 from Kasey Hill.
The Gators (23-5, 13-2 Southeastern Conference), who have won nine straight, continue to hold the advantage of Kentucky in the race for the SEC regular season title.
Sindarius Thornwell had 23 points and 10 rebounds for South Carolina with Duane Notice adding 16 points for the Gamecocks (20-8, 10-5), who have lost three straight and four of the last five overall.
South Carolina trailed by 12 points with 5:28 left in the first half, but fought back with a 17-2 run to take the lead before going into the halftime break down by two points.
“We had some foolish plays in the first half, but you have to credit South Carolina. That’s what they do,” Florida coach Mike White said.
“They make it difficult for you to play the way you’re accustomed to playing.”
The Gators, though, managed build another double-digit lead midway through the second half and led by as many as 18 points with 3:33 left in the game.
“We knew we were going to get open shots,” Chiozza said afterwards. “They’re a good defensive team.
“They trap a lot and run around and try to cause chaos and force you to speed up. But we knew if we didn’t rush we were going to get open shots — and at home, we haven’t shot bad all year.
“We lost to them [on the road], but knew were going to make shots here.”