Photo: Myreon Jones; Credit: Zach Goodall
Fifth-year senior guard Myreon Jones shined to post a near triple-double as Florida rolled over SEC foe South Carolina, 81-60.
Jones, who’s proved to be a catalyst for Florida’s recent success, showcased his facilitation skills in his third straight start to kickstart the offense from its season-long struggles with eight assists and zero assists. His efficiency encompassed UF’s as a whole on Wednesday evening.
He added nine points, including an And-1 finish off a dime from Colin Castleton, and a team-leading 10 rebounds in arguably his career-best outing donning orange and blue threads, catalyzing Florida’s success from start to finish.
Florida restricted a slow start that has plagued it in conference play for the second consecutive appearance.
After Castleton won the tip, starting point guard Kyle Lofton brought the ball up the court looking to set up in the half-court offense. Simulating a pick and roll at the top of the key, Lofton pressed into the Gamecocks’ defense before presenting Castleton with a lob.
The Florida big man snatched the ball out of the air and slammed it home to make an early statement.
That set the tone for how Florida would take the game to South Carolina in the first half, posting 34 points on 45.2% shooting from the floor in 20 minutes.
That aggressive mindset carried throughout the game.
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At the end of the first half, Golden tapped into his analytical background as he hurried Lofton up the court as the clock ticked under 50 seconds with intentions of getting a two-for-one scoring opportunity. The fifth-year guard found an opportunity for Jason Jitoboh on the inside, who knocked down his shot attempt with 34.1 seconds remaining.
The Gators held firm on the defensive end to regain possession with 4.6 seconds left in the half. Assistant Kevin Hovde drew up a play to get Jones sprinting downcourt with a clear vision of the court. He found Reeves on the left wing for a wide-open look from beyond the arc.
While Reeves failed to connect, it showed their intent to keep applying pressure.
That was evident as Florida shot at 48% from the field in the second half, hovering around the 47% clip on the game. They continued to produce an onslaught of points from inside and beyond the three-point line to outscore the Gamecocks 47 to 34 in the final 20 minutes.
Castleton (18), Reeves (15), Lofton, (10), Will Richard (10) and Riley Kugel (14) each eclipsed the double-digit points marks.
As a result, Todd Golden completes the sweep of wins against year one head coaches in the SEC, sitting at 5-0 after the victory over Lamont Paris’ Gamecocks. Rematches with Georgia’s Mike White and LSU’s Matt McMahon will come at the end of the regular season.
The victory aligns with the momentum-building win Florida searched for as a tough four-game stretch stares the unit in the face.
Florida heads to Manhattan, Kan., to take on former wing Keyontae Johnson and the No. 5 Kansas State Wildcats in their next contest on Saturday night. The meeting is a part of the longstanding Big 12/SEC challenge.
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