Coach Martin encouraged by South Carolina's play

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina coach Frank Martin likes the spirit he's seen during the Gamecocks' four-game win streak and hopes the players can keep that going when they open Southeastern Conference play at No. 10 Florida this week.

South Carolina started 2-5, including consecutive home losses to Manhattan and USC Upstate, raised questions about the program. The Gamecocks' recent opponents have not been the level of competition they'll face in the SEC, but South Carolina (7-6) has won five of its last six games and opens league play with a growing sense of confidence.

Martin says practices have picked up and his young team believes the work they've put in is paying off. They will find out how much against the Gators (11-2), who have won four straight over the Gamecocks.