Florida scored the first 12 points of the second half and rode the resulting 15-point cushion to a 61-42 victory over Vanderbilt in Southeastern Conference play Saturday in Gainesville, Fla.
The Gators (12-6, 3-3 SEC) played their second consecutive game without leading scorer and rebounder Colin Castleton (shoulder) and won their third consecutive outing overall and eighth in a row in the series.
After closing to within three points at the break, the Commodores (10-8, 2-4), struggled in the second half, going only 3 of 22 from the field (13.6 percent) and being outscored 30-14 in the period. The loss was their fourth in their last five games.
Cleveland State transfer Tyree Appleby came off the bench and was the only player in double figures for either team in leading the Gators with 11 points. Junior Jason Jitoboh, getting his second career start, grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds to go with his eight points.
With Scotty Pippen Jr., the SEC's leading scorer (18.8 points per game) hampered by early foul trouble and held to just six points on 1-of-10 shooting, Trey Thomas and Jordan Wright led the Commodores with only seven points each.
The early second-half scoring burst gave the Gators a 43-28 lead, and they increased that to 50-32 approaching the midpoint of the second period. Their biggest lead was 21 points at 61-40.
Pippen, who had scored in double figures in 14 consecutive games, picked up two early fouls and played less than six minutes in the first half and 21 in the game.
The Gators took advantage of his absence and owned a couple of 10-point leads (20-10 and 23-13) but poor shooting (4-of-16 over the last 9:15) kept them from building a bigger cushion. The Commodores were within 31-28 at the break.
The Commodores made seven of their last 11 field goal attempts of the first half after starting the game by missing nine of their first 12 shots. But they missed their first six shots of the second half until Jamaine Mann broke the ice with a breakaway layup with 15:06 remaining.
--Field Level Media