Florida Blows Double-Digit Second Half Lead in 71-68 Loss to Vanderbilt

The Florida Gators fell to the Vanderbilt Commodores, 71-68, on Saturday afternoon in Nashville. Vandy ended the game on a 20-8 run, as the Gators failed to score in the final 2 minutes and 27 seconds of the contest. The Commodores outshot the Gators from the floor (49%-43%), beyond the arc (41%-37%) and the free throw line (92%-64%). The two teams split the season series after UF won the first meeting by 7 in late December.

KeVaughn Allen passed Dorian Finney-Smith and Hans Tanzler on Florida’s all-time scoring list in the game as well. He’s now 4 points away from passing Corey Brewer/Malcolm Cesare for 33rd on the Gators’ all-time points list.

Final Five Thoughts

  • 1. Blown Leads Strike Again: For the fifth time this season, the Gators blew a double-digit lead in the second half resulting in a loss. Florida has consistently played down to their competition this year, especially on the road in-conference. The Commodores closed the game on a 20-8 run, fueled by Riley LaChance and Jeff Roberson.
  • 2. Roberson and LaChance Too Much: Speaking of Roberson and LaChance, the duo was simply unstoppable. In the second half, the two combined for 32 of Vanderbilt’s 43 points on 13-23 shooting from the field. The Gators gave way too many open three-point chances to the pair in an effort to switch on every single ball screen. In total, Roberson finished with 26 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists, while sinking all 12 of his free throws. LaChance went for 21 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds in the victory. Roberson, LaChance and Joe Toye combined for 60 of the Commodores’ 71 points. 
  • 3. Free Throw Disparity: Florida’s offense consisted of Chris Chiozza isolation post-ups late in the second half. This strategy killed the Gators and slowed down the tempo of the game to the Commodores’ liking. Vanderbilt shot 16 free throws to Florida’s 3 in the final twenty minutes. The Gators got away from their attacking offense and played their worst offense of the game in the final 6 minutes.
  • 4. Stone and Koulechov Lone Player Positives: While there were a lot of negatives in this contest, Keith Stone and Egor Koulechov both played well. Stone finished the game with 20 points and 6 rebounds on 7-11 shooting from the floor, while Egor Koulechov went for 14 points and 7 rebounds, making 4-6 three-pointers in the second half.
  • 5. Offensive Rebounding Was Encouraging: While Vanderbilt is a poor team inside, Florida’s 11 offensive rebounds leading to 15 second-chance points was encouraging. It’s easier to grab offensive boards vs. a zone defense, but the Gators made it an effort to get feisty on the glass.

About Jake Winderman

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