GAINESVILLE, Fla., Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Scottie Wilbekin pushed Florida to a quick start Wednesday and the No. 11 Gators easily held off a second-half comeback bid to defeat South Carolina 74-58.
The victory could have been a costly one, however, since Wilbekin had to be helped off the court late in the game with an apparent ankle injury. The senior guard came into the game averaging 11.8 points and four assists per contest.
In the opening Southeastern Conference game for both teams, Florida forced 15 first-half turnovers while building a 34-21 lead.
The Gamecocks rallied within eight with less than 14 minutes to play, but Florida then went on a 21-7 run to break open the game.
Wilbekin scored 17 points and both Casey Prather and Patric Young had 13 for the Gators. Florida (12-2) shot 59 percent from the field while holding South Carolina to 43 percent.
Tyrone Johnson paced the Gamecocks (7-7) with 12 points.