South Carolina has two resume-boosting wins in the last eight days.
The latest one might be even bigger than the first, which came against Kentucky .
Wesley Myers scored a season-high 22 points, Chris Silva added another double-double and the Gamecocks upset No. 20 Florida 77-72 on Wednesday night.
“It just shows how good we can be,” Myers said.
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Silva finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds – his fifth double-double of the season – as South Carolina won the Elite Eight rematch from last year’s NCAA Tournament.
The Gamecocks knocked off the Gators in that one thanks to 42 points in the paint. Coach Frank Martin’s team won this one from the 3-point line.
South Carolina (13-7, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) hit 11 of 21 shots from beyond the arc, matching its most 3s all season. Myers was 5 of 7 from 3-point range, taking advantage of the league’s worst team at defending the 3.
The Gators (14-6, 6-2) led by 11 in the first half and were up 48-39 early in the second. But they had no answer for Myers outside and Silva down low.
“(Wes) and Chris have been the two reasons why we’ve been able to really improve as a team,” Martin said. “Chris has decided to just say, ‘The heck with everything. I’m not letting this happen anymore,’ and he’s taking ownership. And Wes has grown up a lot.”
Frank Booker sealed the victory by hitting four free throws in the final 40 seconds.
Florida lost for just the second time in its last 10 games. The Gators returned to the rankings this week for the first time in more than a month, but might have a short stay in the Top 25 poll .
Egor Koulechov and Jalen Hudson led Florida with 16 points apiece. KeVaughn Allen added 15 for the Gators, who shot 6 of 23 from 3-point range.
“We’ve just got to be better,” Koulechov said. “We can’t be a roller-coaster team. Until we lock in and have the same focus every single week, it’s going to keep being up and down.”
Florida had a great chance to tie the game with two minutes to play, but Koulechov turned the ball over while fighting with a teammate for a rebound and then coughing it up as he fell out of bounds. Silva sank a jumper a few seconds later to make it 73-68.
“Every mistake we made, they made us pay for it,” Florida coach Mike White said.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks earned their first road victory against a ranked team since upsetting then-No. 8 Texas A&M on Feb. 6, 2016. It’s the kind of win that will help significantly when the NCAA Tournament selection committee meets in March.
Florida: Gators center John Egbunu took part in pregame warmups for the first time this season, a positive step in his return from reconstructive knee surgery. Egbunu missed the final 10 games last year after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He began non-contact practice last week and could be a huge help in the post for the Gators when he returns.
South Carolina guard Evan Hinson, also a tight end on the football team, left the game with what appeared to be cramping in his right leg midway through the second half. Hinson had to be helped to the bench for treatment and did not return. The sophomore was playing well before the injury, having tied a career high with eight points.
South Carolina: Hosts No. 14 Texas Tech in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday.
Florida: Hosts Baylor in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday.
Winthrop 98, Longwood 78: Xavier Cooks scored 26 points with six assists, both team highs, as the Eagles (12-8, 6-3 Big South) downed the host Lancers (6-16, 3-6). Anders Broman added 18 points and Kyle Zunic scored 14.
UNC Asheville 65, Gardner-Webb 60: The Runnin’ Bulldogs (10-12, 5-4 Big South) were a point down with less than a minute to, but the Bulldogs (13-9, 6-3 Big South) hit four free throws to win. DJ Laster led Gardner-Webb with a career-high 25 points, David Efianayi added 18 points and eight assists and Liam O’Reilly scored 11 to go with nine rebounds.
Dayton 65, Davidson 64: Davidson’s Peyton Aldridge scored a game-high 24 points, but it wasn’t enough as Jalen Crutcher hit a 3-pointer with 56 seconds left to lift the Flyers (10-10, 4-4 A-10) past the Wildcats (10-8, 5-2).