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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Michael Frazier II got one directive from his Florida teammates against South Carolina — whenever he saw daylight on the court, let the ball fly.
The result was a school-record 11 3-pointers — the most ever in a Southeastern Conference game — and career-high 37 points as Frazier helped the top-ranked Gators move a game away from a perfect SEC regular season with a 72-46 victory over South Carolina on Tuesday night.
“They told me if I got a crack to let it go,” Frazier said.
That was the easy part for Frazier, the sophomore who frequently found himself open and made the Gamecocks pay.
“Somehow, some way we didn’t express to our players that Michael Frazier can shoot the basketball,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said.
The Gators (28-2, 17-0 SEC) are a game away from going undefeated in the SEC, something no team not named Kentucky has accomplished since Alabama’s 14-0 run in 1956. Florida coach Billy Donovan shrugged that off, preaching his players will take the same approach to Saturday’s Senior Day meetings with the Wildcats as they have each game all season.
“I still think there’s things in front of this team,” he said. “We can’t get wrapped up in the moment.”
Frazier’s performance topped the 1986 mark of Florida’s Joe Lawrence, who had nine against California. It was also the most ever in a league contest, although Rotnei Clarke hit 13 in 2010 and Alex Dillard made 12 in 1994 but both Arkansas players did it against non-
Frazier didn’t feel anything special in warm-ups, but knew he was onto something with his five 3-pointers in the first half.
In the second half, it was Frazier who broke things open with four 3s during a 23-5 run after the Gamecocks (11-19, 4-13) had cut a double-digit lead to 39-35.
No other Gator reached double digits in points.
Mindaugus Kacinas had 12 points to lead South Carolina, which was coming off a win over Kentucky.
Frazier blew past his old career best of 21 points set earlier this season against Texas A&M. He was 11 of 18 from 3-point range while the rest of the Gators were 0 of 13.
The Gators built an 11-point lead early in the second half but Brenton Williams had a four-point play and followed with a 3-pointer to get the Gamecocks within 39-35 with 13:05 left.
But Frazier connected on a 3, Young had a three-point play and the rout was on.