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Gators repel pesky Gamecocks

©Associated Press
February 6, 2002

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Brett Nelson made 4 of 8 3-pointers and finished with 16 points and seven assists, leading No.8 Florida to a 72-63 victory over South Carolina on Tuesday.

The Gators survived several second-half rallies by South Carolina to win their second straight.

Mike Bonner added 19 points for Florida.

Chuck Eidson and Jamel Bradley each scored 14 for South Carolina. Marius Petravicius added 11 points and seven rebounds.

The Gamecocks' last comeback came with the Carolina Coliseum crowd roaring and Florida clinging to a 53-48 lead with 7:30 left.

Bonner made two free throws. Then after Eidson had his 3-point attempt rattle in and out, Nelson countered with a 3 for Florida.

Two possessions later, Orien Greene converted a turnover into a layup, and David Lee made two free throws to give the Gators a 62-48 lead.

South Carolina closed within 62-53 with 3:30 left. Udonis Haslem, who sat for six minutes with four fouls, returned and made a layup to extend the Gators lead to 11.

South Carolina, which trailed 39-27 at halftime, opened the second half with an 11-5 run.

Florida responded with a layup by Haslem and a short jumper and free throw by Lee, pushing its lead to 49-38.

Florida missed two 3-pointers, and South Carolina moved within five after a 3-pointer by Eidson and a three-point play by Petravicius with 10 minutes left.

Florida shot 53.2 percent (25-for-47), and South Carolina shot 34.4 percent (21-for-61).

South Carolina forced four turnovers with its traps and press to take a 9-1 lead.

After a timeout, Florida went on a 15-5 run during the next 3:30 and took a 16-14 lead. The Gators stepped up their defense and forced four turnovers during the run.

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