UF's Will Richard drives the ball into the Vanderbilt defense Saturday at the O'Connell Center. [Valentina Sarmiento/WRUF]

Florida Men’s Basketball Sinks Vanderbilt

 

The Florida men’s basketball team took down Vanderbilt, 77-64, in front of sold-out crowd at the O’Connell Center on Saturday.

The No. 24 Gators (19-8, 9-5 SEC) bounced back after losing a nail-bitter in overtime at No. 13 Alabama on Wednesday.

Junior Will Richard led Florida with 21 points behind a career high of five 3-pointers. Walter Clayton Jr. followed with 19 points and Tyrese Samuel had 15 points. Ven-allen Lubin led Vanderbilt (7-20, 2-12) with 15 points and seven boards.

Gators Get Out Early

Right from the tip, the Gators came out hungry.

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Clayton Jr. opened with a 3, but it was Samuel’s three dunks in a row that got the Rowdy Reptiles fired up. The grad student took care of business inside by leading the Gators with 11 points at the half.

Florida rushed out to an early lead by forcing turnovers on the defensive end. The Commodores committed eight turnovers and the Gators capitalized by shooting 5-of-13 from 3.

UF’s Walter Clayton Jr. dribbles the ball Saturday against Vanderbilt at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
[Valentina Sarmiento/WRUF]
Poor shooting also hampered Vanderbilt, as it made 7-27 from the field and a staggering 14% (1-7) from beyond the arc. Although Florida would have a cold 2-11 stretch, it was able to close out the half with defensive intensity.

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Cold Then Hot

Vanderbilt came out of intermission with a mission to put the ball in the basket. It went on an 8-0 run that brought the Gators’ lead to just 10 at 47-37.

But Florida responded with a run of its own to push the lead to 22 points. Richard was the catalyst by scoring 13 of his points in the second half.

Up Next

The Gators stay home Wednesday for another SEC game against Missouri (8-19, 0-14). The tip is set for 6:30 p.m. on the SEC Network and ESPN Gainesville 98.1-FM/AM-850 WRUF.

UF’s Zyon Pullin saves the ball from going out of bounds Saturday against Vanderbilt at the O’Connell Center. [Valentina Sarmiento/WRUF]

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