The Florida men’s basketball team keeps its hopes for an NCAA Tournament berth alive with a come from behind 82-78 win over Vanderbilt in Nashville.
Gators Men’s Basketball (19-11, SEC 9-8)
This was the second meeting of the year between the two teams as back in January in Gainesville the Gators defeated Vanderbilt 61-42. In this game, the Gators got off to a hot start in Nashville against the Commodores hitting 6 of 12 shots from three point land in the opening half. Florida went into halftime leading Vanderbilt, 39-35.
Second Half Fight
The Gators could not find their groove in the second half as they gave up the lead to Vanderbilt. The Commodores got hot and took a 61-54 lead as Scotty Pippen Jr. pumped in shots from all over the court. But the Gators wouldn’t quit and it came down to the wire. Although Florida trailed a majority of the second half, they hung close and then Phlandrous Fleming Jr. hit a big time three to give the Gators an 80-78 lead with 6.3 seconds left in regulation.
Vandy got the ball and Pippen was fouled but he missed the front end of a one and one and Florida’s Colin Castleton was then fouled. He calmly sank two free throws and the Gators escaped with the win, a quadrant one win at that, something the Gators needed to upgrade their postseason chances.
Four Gator players had double figure scoring nights led by Colin Castleton with 19 points and eight rebounds. Phlandrous Fleming Jr. added 16, guard Myreon Jones 1scored 13, and Tyree Appleby chipped in with 12 points.
Gator coach Mike White on his teams performance…
“Incredible. You don’t see it very often. I’ve never been a part of a game where the opposing team does that much damage offensively, late clock. I thought Vanderbilt was terrific and really deserved to win the game. Fifteen threes, the way they executed, the way they made us pay after defending for lengthy periods of time… But, credit my guys.”
Vanderbilt Commodores (14-15, SEC 6-11)
The Commodores entered this match up playing better basketball in the second half of the season and this loss will be particularly tough because the team was very good offensively but could not hold on to get a much needed win. Scotty Pippen Jr. had 29 points but it wasn’t enough to get his team a win.
Up Next for the Gators
Florida returns to the O’Connell Center Saturday afternoon to close out the regular season as it hosts Kentucky on Senior Day.