The South Carolina men's basketball team was looking to bounce back from a four game skid Saturday against Florida, but Mike White and the Gators had other plans.
The Gamecocks beat the Gators in Gainesville earlier this year, so it's safe to say the Gators wanted revenge. This was clear comparing the energy from both teams on Saturday. From the tip-off, it was obvious Florida wanted this game; the Gators came out and played with more passion than the Gamecocks.
Frank Booker, who led the team off the bench with 17 points, noticed the lack of energy from the Gamecocks and blamed it on their current losing streak.
"Right now we are playing kind of stagnant. We're not playing like the team that we know we are," he said. "I don't want to say that we're not passionate because everyday we're at practice, we're running, we're sprinting, we're doing things, we're with each other. I just don't see the same look in everybody's eyes ... because of the losing."
The first half was not a pretty one for the Gamecocks. Florida held South Carolina to only 20 points, the team's lowest total in a half this year. Booker accounted for 11 of those 20 first half points.
The Gamecocks also had all sorts of trouble with the physicality of Florida. South Carolina was never able to establish a presence in the paint. Florida dominated the inside on both ends, blocking six of South Carolina's first half shots while also out rebounding the Gamecocks by 12.
As if this wasn't enough, head coach Frank Martin earned himself a technical. It sparked a little momentum for the Gamecocks and the crowd, but not enough to get South Carolina back into the game.
The second half was much of the same for Martin and company. Martin was fired up at half time as he came out of the tunnel for the second half with no blazer on and his tie loosened.
The Gamecocks, once again, could not find any offensive rhythm. Florida continuously disrupted the offensive flow that South Carolina was trying to establish. Each time down on the offensive end, the Gamecocks would try to run their offensive set and would get displaced and have to try and create something new.
Once the Gators stretched the lead to 20 points, they never looked back. Nothing the Gamecocks did could stop the players on either end of the floor, making it complete domination by Florida.
"This wasn't an X and O problem here today. We got beat to everything. We got beat to loose balls, we got out disciplined," Martin said. "We had no fight, we tried, we showed up to play, but then Florida said we're not losing to you guys again ... We looked for the back door and snuck out of the fight."
The Gamecocks will look to regroup and end this five-game streak this week on the road against No. 15 Tennessee.