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CAROLINA BASKETBALL: Gators take a chomp out of Gamecocks

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SPORTS LIBRARY, South Carolina, USC, basketball

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Colin Castleton scored 18 points and Florida pulled away in the second half to beat South Carolina 81-60 on Wednesday night.

Castleton was 7-of-10 shooting and blocked four shots in leading the Gators (12-8, 5-3 SEC) to their fifth win in six games.

Kowacie Reeves scored 10 of his 15 points in the first half, and freshman Riley Kugel, making his fourth start, added 14, all in the second half. Kyle Lofton and Will Richard had 10 points each and Myreon Jones had nine points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

Gregory “GG” Jackson II scored 20 points, Chico Carter 12 and Josh Gray had 11 points and 13 rebounds — his first double double — for the Gamecocks (8-12, 1-6), losers of four straight.

Florida used runs of 12-2 and 16-2 over the first 10 minutes of the second half in building a 25-point lead. Shortly thereafter, Zachary Davis and Niels Lane were given technicals and after a lengthy video review Davis was ejected for jabbing an elbow into Lane’s face under the Gamecocks’ basket. A half-minute later Lane fouled out.

The Gators led by 30 with 4 1/2 minutes remaining. They outshot the Gamecocks by 10% and scored 16 points off 15 South Carolina turnovers, including 10 steals.

Castleton scored Florida’s first six points with his third basket starting an 11-2 run and the Gators stayed in front. Reeves had consecutive 3-pointers as the Gators kept their distance before Castleton scored with six minutes left for an 11-point lead. The lead was 34-26 at the half with Reeves scoring 10 points and Castleton going 4-for-4 with nine points.

Florida played without Alex Fudge, injured in Saturday’s win over Mississippi State. He had started 11 straight games.

South Carolina plays at Georgia on Saturday. Florida plays at No. 5 Kansas State in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, also on Saturday.

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