Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Upstate to Columbia, South Carolina Basketball

       Division 1 men's basketball is very entertaining. A few weeks back I was in Spartanburg South Carolina home to SC Upstate at Hodge Gymnasium. I found out Hodge is the smallest capacity gym in D1 at 818. I thought NJIT was the smallest gym but no, that honor belongs to humble Hodge. Up at Hodge I went to see Florida Gulf Coast because they rocked the D1 men's basketball world last March. They didn't disappoint and wound up with a big road win for their Atlantic Sun title hopes. So going down to Columbia tonight to see South Carolina play host to the No.1 Florida Gators I didn't know what to expect and afterwards wasn't disappointed.

       18,000 seat Colonial Life Arena wasn't filled to capacity but most of the seats were filled. Carolina had just beat No.17 Kentucky on Saturday and the fans were primed for another upset. Although their were many Gator faithful in attendance, Gamecock pride was rampant and at the end of the first half #1 Florida was leading 28-26. The ol'ball coach(Steve Spurrier) came out during halftime riled the crowd, made a few jabs at Clemson, and Conor Shaw made an appearance thanking the crowd for his time as Carolina quarterback. Electric the atmosphere. Fans primed. The Gamecocks came to play. Another upset right. My brother and I were in for a show. After Carolinas Brenton Williams made a 4 point play and hit another 3 point shot the Gamecocks came back with a mini run of their own cutting the Gator lead to 39-35. That was as close as they would get because billy ball came back roaring. I think they went on a 23-5 run blowing the game open. Carolina got careless and despite my brother and I thinking the Gators had relied too much on the 3 point shot Michael Frazier II went record books knocking in 11 triples finishing the game with 37 points. It was as if the Gators vacuumed the place. South Carolina just got blitzed and it happened very fast very quick. Next thing you know the number one team in the nation was acting like the number one team in the nation. It did get funny at the end with the Carolina crowd throwing stuff onto the floor and chanting "Georgia Southern". The final score, Florida 72 South Carolina 46.
       Colonial Life isn't as intimate as Hodge. But the Gamecocks have a band. Love the college band, a vital piece to the college hoops experience. In closing obviously the Gators are good and it was cool to see how good they can be when they want to. The Gamecocks got gassed in the second and the Gators took that proverbial bait. Also, got to say what up to New Jersey Nets legend and former Gamecock Anthony Johnson. Unfortunately didn't get a chance to get the photo opp because it was "Bo Time" and he returned to his seat at the start of the 2nd half with some Bojangles.

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