Florida Gator men’s basketball (14-15, 7-9) falls in Nashville to the Vanderbilt Commodores (16-13, 9-7), losing 88-72 on Saturday. With the loss, the Gators fall to 0-2 against the Commodores on the year and fall below .500 overall for the season.
Final #GoGators | @WellsFargo pic.twitter.com/3maTgY2tSH
— Florida Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) February 26, 2023
Gator’s duo keeps it close in the first half
The first half for Florida would be rough on both sides of the court. Offensively, they only shot 39.4% from the field overall. Although, they did make six 3’s in the half. Additionally, they only committed two turnovers, taking care of the ball well.
The defense was another story. The Commodores shot 52.9% from the field overall, and 43.8% from three. Moreover, the Commodores held a 10-point lead at halftime at 46-36.
Both Riley Kugel and Kyle Lofton kept the Gators in the game with their first-half performances. They both scored a team-high 13 points in the first half. Kugel added four rebounds in the half as well. Lofton grabbed three rebounds himself and had one assist.
Not enough in the tank for the Gators in the second
Florida just could not match their opponent’s effort as in the second half they were outscored by six points, which put the final deficit at 16.
A statistic to note from this match-up is that the Gators trailed from the 16:40 mark in the first half onwards. They did manage to make it close in the second half. At one point bringing the Commodores lead to just nine with five minutes left, but the Gators could not finish the comeback as the Commodores ran away with it at the end.
In the end, Vanderbilt finished shooting 51.7% from the field overall and 41.7% from behind the arc. They also shot 69.6% from the charity stripe. Florida finished the game shooting almost 10% lower than their opponents, making 42.9% of their shots in the game. And from 3, the Gators were inefficient, making only 29.2% of their attempts.
Performances that stood out for Florida would be Riley Kugel and Kyle Lofton. Kugel led the Gators in scoring against the Commodores, finishing with 20 points and four rebounds. Lofton ended the game with 15 points, three rebounds, and two assists.
Who is up next for Florida?
Following this game against Vanderbilt, the Gators will head to Athens on Tuesday to take on the Georgia Bulldogs and former head coach Mike White. They beat White and the Bulldogs earlier in the year at home, winning 82-75 back in January.