The Florida Gator men’s basketball team was able to withstand an impressive late push from Vanderbilt, to extend their win streak to three games with a 78-71 home win over the Commodores on Wednesday night.
The Gators led by as many as 10 in the first half; however the majority of the first half was quite competitive. Scotty Pippen Jr. led all scorers at the half with 18, while Scottie Lewis, who had missed the previous four games with what Florida described as a “health and safety precaution”, led all Gators with 10 points. The Gators went into halftime leading 37-29, mostly due to their seven made 3-pointers in the first half.
Florida took control early in the second half, jumping out to a quick 12-2 run, building their lead to 49-31 with 14:25 left in the game. They continued their dominance throughout most of the second half, building their lead all the way up to 22 points with 9:52 left in the game and Florida looked to be in complete control. However, an impressive second half effort by Scotty Pippen Jr. and Dylan Disu, cut the Gator lead down to four points with 37 seconds left in the game.
However, the Commodores late second half push proved to be too little too late, as the Gators held on to secure a 78-71 victory.
Florida finished with five players in double figures led by Tre Mann with 15 points, four rebounds, and two assists. After being shut out in the first half, Colin Castleton’s impressive second half led him to finish with 13 points and five rebounds. Noah Locke and Tyree Appleby each finished with 12 points. Scottie Lewis finished with 10 points, four assists and four steals.
The Vanderbilt Commodores were led by sophomore guard Scotty Pippen Jr. who scored a career-best 32 points, with five rebounds, and six assists. Forward Dylan Disu was also impressive, contributing 18 points and nine rebounds.
The Vanderbilt Commodores will look to build upon their impressive effort, when they take on South Carolina on Saturday.
Florida has now won three league games in a row and will look to keep their momentum rolling when they travel to Morgantown, West Virginia, to take on the 11th ranked West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.