Vanderbilt center Liam Robbins record a double double with 32 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday's victory over the Gators on Feb. 11, 2023. Photo courtesy of @VandyMBB via Twitter.

Gators Men’s Hoops Fall 88-80 to Vanderbilt

Three-point shooting decided Saturday’s contest between the visiting Vanderbilt Commodores and the Florida Gators men’s basketball team.  This SEC showdown ended with an 88-80 loss for the Orange & Blue, who have dropped the last three games to Kentucky, Alabama and now Vanderbilt.

What This Loss Means

While losses to Kentucky and Alabama stung, Saturday’s loss hurts that much more. The Gators knew that coming out of this battle victorious would be vital for their chances at a NCAA Tournament bid. A Quadrant three loss at this point in the season, which eliminated Florida’s chance of reaching a number four SEC ranking, is not what the Gators had in mind.

Following the game, Gator center Colin Castleton shared how disappointing the loss was for the team.

What Went Wrong for Florida

Florida struggled to defend the Commodores from beyond the arc. The Gator defense came out strong this season leading to a 6-3 start in SEC play. However, in Florida’s past three games (Kentucky, Alabama, Vanderbilt) the Gators have allowed their opponent to shoot 47% from deep. In Saturday’s contest against the Commodores, Vanderbilt dominated from the three, connecting on 12 of 23 shots from deep.

In addition to a lacking defensive effort, the Gators couldn’t keep up with Vanderbilt’s offense. Florida finished shooting 32 of 67 from the floor, only hitting 2 of 20 shots from the three.

Vanderbilt on the Rise

Vanderbilt center Liam Robbins recorded a career-best 32 points on the night, leading the Black & Gold to victory. The seven-foot center won this battle against Castleton, shooting 10-18 from the field, 3-4 from three, 9-11 from the free throw line, while also recording 10 rebounds to hit a double-double.

Following the game, Vanderbilt head coach Jerry Stackhouse spoke highly of Robbins in his performance against the Gators.

The Commodores have now won three straight. Prior to Saturday’s win over the Gators, Vanderbilt picked up a buzzer-beater win over the then sixth ranked Tennessee Volunteers.

Additionally, Saturday’s win marks Stackhouse’s first win over Florida in the past four seasons. The Black & Gold has many reasons to celebrate before they hit the road to take on a 9-16 South Carolina squad on Tuesday.

Next up for Gators

Meanwhile, Florida will be back at home on Wednesday as they host the Ole Miss Rebels. Tip off is set for 6:30 p.m.

About Ellie Shreve

Ellie is a third-year sports and media journalism major at the University of Florida.

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