Tue, 09 Mar 2021

Florida holds off Vanderbilt's late charge

Field Level Media
28 Jan 2021, 12:05 GMT+10

Florida survived a 32-point effort from Vanderbilt's Scotty Pippen Jr. and staved off a last-minute Commodore comeback in a 78-71 victory at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville on Wednesday evening.

The Gators (9-4, 6-3 Southeastern Conference) led for 39:05. They shot 51.9 percent from the field and 43.5 percent from 3 and had 15 turnovers to Vandy's 17.

Florida's Tre Mann (15 points), Colin Castleton (13) Tyree Appleby and Noah Locke (12) and Scottie Lewis (10) all scored in double figures.

Pippen had a career high in points and also led Vanderbilt (4-8, 0-6) in assists (six) and minutes (39), but also had six turnovers.

Vandy's Dylan Disu added 18 points and a game-high nine rebounds, but the rest of the team was 7 of 26 from the floor.

Mann, Florida's leading scorer, played just three minutes in the first half due to foul trouble.

But he opened the second period with a 3-pointer to give the Gators an 11-point advantage, then, lofted a pass to Castleton on the low block that resulted in a layup and a 47-31 lead with 15:08 left.

Castleton knocked down a short shot from the other block with 12:34 left for a 20-point lead.

Vandy got within six on Pippen's contested layup with 1:24 remaining.

Mann missed a layup on Florida's next trip and then Pippen picked up an offensive board and nailed a 10-foot jumper to cut it to 73-69 with 37.7 seconds left.

Appleby hit two free throws, and then Disu threw the ball out of bounds on Vanderbilt's next possession with 31 seconds remaining.

Pippen scored 12 of the Commodores' first 15 points and had 18 at half, but the Gators led 37-29 at the break anyway thanks to 7 of 13 3-point shooting.

Pippen hit a jumper to start the game, but the Gators scored the next nine points and never trailed again. They took their first double-digit lead at 20-10 on Locke's steal and subsequent 3-pointer with 10:39 left in the half.

The Commodores fought back to get within two, but Lewis picked up steals on back-to-back possessions, leading to 3s from Appleby and Samson Ruzhentsev, pushing the lead to 35-25 with 3:50 left.

Lewis, who'd missed the last four games, checked in with 15:16 left in the first half.

Vanderbilt has lost its last six games and is the SEC's only winless team in conference play.

--Field Level Media

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