The Florida Gator men’s basketball team had their two game win streak snapped on Tuesday night falling to the Vanderbilt Commodores by a final score of 67-61.
Poor shooting would plague the Gators once again as the team shot an abysmal 36 percent from the field and an even worse 31 percent from beyond the arc. The Gators missed their first nine shots from the field and went down 15-0 in the first seven minutes and head coach Billy Donovan said his team just never could establish much offensively.
“We were a step late. They execute very well but we were very late, a step slow, late reacting to things and we really didn’t get much done overall.”
The Gators (12-10, 5-4) finished with just two players in double figures on the night led by junior shooting guard Michael Frazier II who shined with 21 points, shooting 6-of-10 from the field and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Frazier’s success on the night may be the biggest positive for Donovan’s club as Frazier had accumulated just 11 points in the team’s last two games.
The Gators also received a 12 point effort from redshirt junior Eli Carter despite a poor night shooting 5-of-17 from the field. Despite the team loss Tuesday night, Donovan compared it to the team’s last win against Arkansas and noted that their offense was very similar.
“It’s two guys in double figures and the shooting percentages by certain guys are astronomically low and we don’t really get anything out of anybody.”
The Commodores entered Tuesday night’s match up ranked 12th in the SEC in rebounding but the Gators were absolutely dominated on the glass by a margin of 42-26. Despite finishing with more points in the paint Billy Donovan’s club never found much success as Vanderbilt’s bigs frustrated the Gators finishing with a total of nine blocks compared to Florida’s two.
The biggest statistical category the Gators failed to find success in was free throws and it wasn’t even close. Florida got to the charity stripe just 16 times, sinking 13 while the Commodores got to the free-throw line a whopping 42 times, sinking 29. The Gators were significantly outplayed in a multitude of categories on Tuesday night and Donovan touched on a couple of the key ones.
“Their front court really dominated the game in every facet. They outrebounded us by an unbelievable margin, they got to the free-throw line and we fouled entirely too much.”
The Commodores (12-10, 2-7) shot a slightly better 40 percent from the field on Tuesday night and 37 percent from beyond the arc. Vanderbilt finished with four in double figures led by freshman shooting guard Riley LaChance who finished with 15 points, shooting 4-of-10 from the field with all of his makes coming from beyond the three-point line.
Another player that stood out for Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings was senior forward James Siakam who finished with 12 points and dominated the glass with 11 rebounds and five blocks. Siakam did most of his damage offensively from the free-throw line and Donovan praised his play on the night.
“He was great, he was the difference in the game in a lot of ways and he had more rebounds at the end of the first half than our entire team.”
The Gators were never able to establish any sort of consistency offensively and trailed the entire game. Despite Florida finishing with 10 less turnovers on the night than Vanderbilt Donovan explained that his team was never able to capitalize on the Commodore mistakes.
“We had opportunities. We either turned the ball over or we couldn’t come at them with a rebound and calling it like it is, my responsibility as the coach is to get my team prepared and ready to play from an emotional standpoint and we just didn’t have it for whatever reason.”
The Gators will now look to right the ship on Saturday against the undefeated and top ranked Kentucky Wildcats. The Gators defeated the Wildcats three times last season and despite the Gators boasting a completely different team, the Wildcats will no doubt be looking to exact some revenge.
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