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Gators come alive in second half to top South Carolina

Jan 15, 2012 - 3:33 AM Columbia, SC (Sports Network) - Kenny Boynton led a balanced offensive attack with 15 points, as No. 19 Florida used a strong second half to beat South Carolina, 79-65, at Colonial Life Arena.

Will Yeguete and Bradley Beal both totaled 14 points, while Erving Walker and Erik Murphy chipped in 11 for the Gators (14-4, 2-1 SEC), who have won back to-back contests since dropping their conference opener at Tennessee on January 7.

Mike Rosario scored 10 for Florida, which made half of its 24 three-point shots. Boynton led the way by going 4-of-7 from beyond the arc for the Gators, who held a 39-24 scoring advantage in the second half.

Bruce Ellington had 17 points to pace the Gamecocks (8-9, 0-3), who went 8- of-31 from the field over the final 20 minutes.

"We were terrific to start the game, throughout the first half and to start the second half we hit one of those lulls for whatever reason," South Carolina coach Darrin Horn said. "The biggest part of it, without watching film is that we had a few turnovers and we forced a few things early and that hurt us and they turned them into baskets. In general we have got to understand that we may have a few lulls and we have to continue to find a way to defend better to give ourselves a better opportunity when that happens."

Brenton Williams drained a three-pointer in the final minute of the first half for a 41-37 South Carolina lead, but Boynton then hit a long-distance shot to close the period.

Florida scored 14 in a row early in the second half. Damontre Harris converted a three-point play for the Gamecocks to get the hosts within 45-44, but Beal then made a three to start Florida's impressive burst. Beal canned another three during the push, which ended on his two made free throws with 10:26 remaining for the dominating 59-44 lead.

"We made a few adjustments at the half in terms of just pressuring up a little bit," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "I thought it was really important the first four minutes coming out of the locker room that we got off to a good start."

The margin remained in double digits the rest of the way.

Game Notes

Florida center Patric Young, who is battling a sprained right ankle, didn't start and had four points in 13 minutes...Florida got its first road victory of the season...The Gators have won nine of the last 12 matchups with South Carolina, beginning with a win in the 2006 SEC Tournament championship game.