Gators cruise in win

Mary Ann Chastain/AP Photo
Florida's Erving Walker (right) and South Carolina's Eric Smith chase after a loose ball during the second half of Wednesday's game.

COLUMBIA --- Florida has been on a run the past month that's hard to top. When the No. 17 Gators shoot like they did in beating South Carolina, they're downright unstoppable.


Erving Walker scored 25 points and Florida (19-5, 8-2 Southeastern Conference) shot 55.4 percent -- its best showing in 21 games -- in a 79-60 victory Wednesday night.

"When we're making shots like that, we're tough to beat," Florida's Chandler Parsons said. "We just want to keep playing unselfish, keep playing the way we are."

Vernon Macklin score 16 points and Chandler, with 14 points and 12 rebounds, finished two assists shy of a triple double with a career-best eight.

Florida has won five of six since losing to the Gamecocks (13-9, 4-5) at the O'Connell Center on Jan. 15 to take control of the SEC Eastern Division. The Gators are three victories up on their nearest rivals (Georgia and Kentucky are tied at 5-4 and don't play until Saturday) and look like they're peaking at the perfect time.

"We're learning," said Walker, two points short of his career best. "Even though we're an older team, we're still learning."

That fits right into the plans of coach Billy Donovan, who won his 350th game at Florida. He was pleased that his team showed the focus and poise to bounce back from a big week -- the Gators beat ranked teams in Kentucky and Vanderbilt.

Bruce Ellington had 14 points to lead South Carolina, which has lost four of its past five.