FINAL: VANDERBILT 73, FLORIDA 71
NASHVILLE, TN- The Florida Gators finished the regular season in disappointing fashion by blowing a 12-point second half lead to the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday. Florida led 54-42 with 12:06 left to play, but went ice cold the remainder of the game as the Commodores mounted their comeback.
Florida limited Vanderbilt (the best 3-point shooting team in the SEC) to connect on just five of twenty two attempts from long range, but still found a way to lose. Florida’s senior point guard Kasey Hill missed a layup with six seconds left to seal the win for Vandy. Hill also missed a layup with 1:18 left in regulation.
Noticeably, Florida head coach Mike White chose to play small against a perimeter-based team like Vandy. Kevarrius Hayes played just ten minutes in the game. Vanderbilt big man Luke Kornet finished with 24 points against much smaller players Keith Stone, and Justin Leon. Hayes had picked up two fouls but also had four rebounds in the limited action.
Florida was led by Canyon Barry who scored 15 points in 25 minutes off the bench. Barry, however was absent for the final few minutes of play. Kevaughn Allen scored 13 points (all in the first half) and Chris Chiozza added 11 more. Hill finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds, but also committed five turnovers.
Although Kornet let the Commodores in scoring, the comeback could not have happened had Riley LaChance not taken over late in the second half. LaChance scored 13 points, grabbed five rebounds and assisted on 4 other baskets. LaChance also made a layup with 1:35 that put Vanderbilt on top for the remainder of the game.
Florida heads into the SEC Tournament losers of two of their last three. This game is the real head-scratcher as Florida blew a big lead to an inferior opponent. Are we witnessing a late season collapse much like last season? Or will Mike White and company figure it out. We will know more at this time next week.
Florida will be the number two seed in the tournament in Nashville, meaning they will receive a double-bye into the quarterfinals on Friday. Vanderbilt plays on Thursday and with a win would face Florida in the quarterfinals.
- FLORIDA: 24-7 (14-4 SEC)
- VANDERBILT: 17-14 (10-8 SEC)
THE FLORIDA GATORS HAVE EARNED A DOUBLE-BYE IN THE SEC TOURNAMENT IN NASHVILLE ON FRIDAY. STAY POSTED.