Some observations following Florida’s 72-68 win at South Carolina on Wednesday night:
— On the surface, it was a rocky game for Florida sophomore point Kasey Hill, who finished with 1 assist to 6 turnovers and had issues facing South Carolina’s pressure defense and traps. But Florida coach Billy Donovan said he felt Hill showed some resolve through the struggles. The 6-foot-1 Umatilla native had nine points, going 2 of 5 from the field and 5 of 7 from the free throw line before fouling out in the closing minutes of the game. “When you are playing well, it’s so easy to stay engaged in the game,” Donovan said. “To me the sign of a great competitor and a great teammate and a great player is how do you handle it when it’s not going well for you, can you still stay in the fight and stay focused and compete … I thought Kasey did that tonight.”
— Freshman forward Devin Robinson fired up another air ball on Wednesday night and finished 1 of 5 from the field and 0 of 2 from 3-point range. Since scoring a career-high 15 points against Yale, Robinson is shooting just 28 percent from the floor and 2 of 18 from 3-point range. It would be nice to see the 6-foot-8 Robinson get back on track.
— Florida still made some shaky decisions down the stretch. Donovan was beside himself when freshman point guard Chris Chiozza fouled South Carolina guard Tyrone Johnson on an eventual three-point play that cut UF’s lead to 70-68 with 6.4 seconds left. Chiozza also had an ill-advised shot attempt with 1:26 left and more than 20 seconds left in the shot clock with Florida up 64-58. South Carolina center Demetruis Henry blocked and the shot and Florida was fortunate to retain possession. Chalk both decisions up as freshman mistakes. Overall, the Gators committed 24 fouls and need to do a better job of defending without drawing contact at times. But unlike the UConn and FSU games, Florida made their free throws and came up with plays it needed to down the stretch to pull out the game.