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Florida guard Andrew Nembhard against Kentucky during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, in Gainesville, Fla. Kentucky defeated Florida 65-54. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey)

Gator Men’s Hoops Ready to Take on Commodores in Search of Fifth Straight Win

The Gators’ men’s basketball team is looking to extend their current winning streak as they visit the Vanderbilt Commodores on Wednesday night.

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What to Expect From the Commodores

Vanderbilt has had a difficult season, and there’s no way around it. The Commodores are 9-18 on the season, and are 0-14 in SEC play. They entered conference play with a 9-3 record, but have lost 15 straight games.

The Commodores have really struggled offensively this season, and aren’t good enough on defense to make up for their offensive lapses. According to KenPom.com, they are 187th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency. They are shooting just 42.9% from the field and only 32.4% from three.

The Commodores have had success in getting to the free throw line. However, they fail to capitalize on these opportunities. They are 10th in the country in free throw rate, but are making 68.4% of their shots from the stripe.

Vanderbilt’s leading scorers this season are Saban Lee with 12.7 points per game, Aaron Nesmith with 11.6, and Simisola Shittu with 11.6 points per game. The last time the Gators and Commodores met, Nesmith was the leading man with 26 points and nine rebounds on 6-13 shooting.

Despite Vanderbilt’s lack of success this season, this still could be a tough game for the Gators. Under Mike White, the Gators have never beaten the Commodores in Nashville. Florida’s 66-57 win on February 13th was White’s first win against Vandy.

Gators Rolling

The Gators have struggled all season because of their inconsistent play, but they have certainly turned a corner as of late. They have won four straight games against some quality teams. After beating Vanderbilt at home two weeks ago, the Gators went on to grab two huge wins on the road against Alabama and LSU. They are now coming off of Saturday’s home win against Missouri.

Several players have been key contributors in what has been the team’s best stretch of basketball this season. KeVaughn Allen has been at the forefront of Florida’s run. In conference play, Allen is averaging 15.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game.

He’s shooting 38.8% from three and 92.6% from the stripe against SEC opponents. Allen came up huge against Alabama, LSU, and Missouri. However, he had one of his worst games of the season in the win against the Commodores. He scored just six points on 1-9 shooting in that game. Vanderbilt limited him effectively in the game, so Allen will be looking for a bounce-back performance on Wednesday.

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Aside from Allen, freshmen Keyontae Johnson and Andrew Nembhard have stepped up as of late.

Johnson has put up 12.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in the last four games. Nembhard had his best game of the season against Alabama with 21 points on 9-9 shooting, and has really opened up Florida’s offense as of late with his aggressive play on offense.

Game Time

Florida and Vanderbilt will be tipping off on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. eastern. The game will be televised on SEC Network and broadcast on the radio on Country 103-7 The Gator.

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