Gamecocks "Zam" Gators at Buzzer!
The #24Â Gator men's basketball team's return to the national rankings probably won't last long. Zam Fredrick and South Carolina saw to that. Fredrick's layup as time expired lifted the Gamecocks to a 70-69 victory on Wednesday night, ending the Gators' 10-game win streak.Â Fredrick took an on-target pass in stride from forward Mike Holmes and scored the winning hoop just before the buzzer sounded.
Only moments earlier, Fredrick missed what would've been a tying foul shot with 4.7 seconds left.Â Â Neither Fredrick - nor any other South Carolina player - looked as if he'd have the same chance in this one as Florida (16-3, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) overcame a 5-point deficit to lead 67-60 with less than three minutes remaining.
Gator sophomore guard Nick Calathes, who was the game's high scorer with 20 points,Â was the first Gators player with a chance to seal the win, but he missed the one-and-one try.
Fredrick missed a foul shot with 4.7 seconds to go and it was rebounded by Florida's Chandler Parsons, who was quickly sent to the line with 3.3 seconds left. He, too, missed the foul shot to set up the last crazy moments.
"We had a chance to add four points and we came up empty," Florida coach Billy Donovan said.
The victory ended a two-game SEC losing streak for the Gamecocks and first-year coach Darrin Horn.Â It was pandemonium at the Colonial Life Arena after Fredrick's shot went through. His momentum took him into the seats where several Gamecocks football players watched. Fredrick's teammates soon joined the celebratory scrum.
Florida got back in the national rankings this week - the SEC's only representative in the Top 25 - due in part to its long win streak which looked like it would continue.
Parsons had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Gators, who'll head to Vanderbilt on Sunday.
Donovan, two national titles under his belt, took a philosophical approach to his latest loss, saying it will help his young club later on. "There's an experience that these guys have got to go through that's new to us," he said.
Florida looked spotty throughout. The Gators ended with 18 turnovers, nearly double the Gamecocks 10. South Carolina caused many of them, finishing with 11 steals, three each by Downey and Holmes.
Donovan says his players will improve from this defeat, just as they got better after losing to Florida State in early December before taking off on the win streak. "They're learning on the job and getting better in some of those experiences," he said.
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