Some observations following Florida’s 57-53 loss at South Carolina:
— Florida needed experienced point guards Kasey Hill and Chris Chiozza to step up to help the Gators handle a hostile atmosphere at South Carolina. Hill was solid in the first half, but got into second half foul trouble and fouled out with 1:51 left. Chiozza was up-and-down with 4 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 turnovers. At times, Chiozza looks over-matched physically against SEC competition. Chiozza and Hill combined for eight turnovers, just like in last year’s 73-69 overtime loss at South Carolina. As a team, Florida’s assist-to-turnover ratio was 8 to 16, not good enough.
— There was some good, some bad in John Egbunu’s return to the starting lineup at center. Egbunu had some good rebounds in traffic, finishing with 7 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. But Egbunu still looks lost trying to score in the post. Clearly, the 6-foot-11 Egbunu is UF’s biggest x-factor going forward. If the Gators can get him to score more consistently inside, it will take pressure off their shooters.
— It was a tightly called game against two physical teams (55 fouls) but Florida still had too many careless fouls. Florida sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen picked up two first half fouls for his third straight game, limiting his offensive effectiveness. Hill, meanwhile, had a bad fifth foul hacking South Carolina sophomore guard P.J. Dozier from beyond the 3-point line with 1:51 left. Dozier made two of three free throws (aided by a Keith Stone lane violation). There’s a fine line between challenging shots and fouling, especially in late game situations on the road.