Just three days after breaking out in a major way for the first time this season, Florida Gators basketball broke down.
Florida (13-7, 5-3 SEC) suffered an game-ending injury moments into the contest and posted its worst shooting percentage on the season, playing awful basketball for 39 of Tuesday night’s 40-minute game before ultimately falling 60-59 to the Vanderbilt Commodores (12-8, 4-4 SEC) at Memorial Gym in Nashville, Tennessee.
OnlyGators.com breaks down Tuesday’s embarrassing loss with eight quick-hitters:
It was over when: Commodores guard Wade Baldwin IV made two free throws with seven seconds remaining to push the hosts up four points and put the game out of reach. The Gators actually trailed by eight with a minute to play but somehow made shots over the final 55 seconds that they were unable to the rest of the contest. UF went 5-for-7 from the field with 11 straight points from freshman guard KeVaughn Allen (including a trio of three-pointers) over the final 55 seconds of the game.
Rock bottom: Outside of some hot shooting extremely late in the game, Florida went 18-for-63 from the field and 4-for-19 from three over the course of the game. Including Allen’s onslaught, the Gators still finished with their worst shooting performance of the season, only hitting 32.9 percent of their attempts from the floor. UF started Tuesday’s game 0-of-11 from downtown and missed 11 consecutive shots in the second half. Though VU was unable to truly pull away, it still played well enough to keep the visitors from taking a lead, holding the advantage for 37 minutes of the 40-minute game.
Guards on point: In addition to Allen, whose late surge of 11 points in 33 seconds pushed him to 16 points on the evening, it was Florida’s point guard play that kept it in Tuesday’s game. Junior Kasey Hill came off the bench to match Allen’s team-high 16 points, though he did not dish a single assist. Sophomore starter Chris Chiozza came through with 10 points, four rebounds and three assists. Combined, the three guards posted 42 of UF’s 59 points.
Still rolling: Redshirt senior forward Dorian Finney-Smith did not have a great night, ending his hot shooting by going 5-for-14 from the field and 1-for-6 from beyond the arc while also turning the ball over five times and committing four fouls. Still though, where would the Gators be without him? Finney-Smith posted 12 points and 14 boards, registering a double-double for the fifth time in seven games.
Important injury: Junior F Justin Leon, who has started the last eight games for Florida (including Tuesday night), left the game just minutes into the contest after taking an accidental elbow to the side of his head. He collapsed to the ground and remained there for a few minutes before being helped off the court. Soon after, Leon was ruled out of the contest. Leon had been a big part of UF’s recently improved play; his loss definitely made an impact on Tuesday’s result.
Absurd shooting stats: Florida attempted 26 more field goals than Vanderbilt and only made five more … the Commodores attempted 23 more free throws than the Gators … outside of Hill, UF’s bench combined to go 0-for-10 from the floor … only four Florida players made more than a single basket
Everything else: Redshirt sophomore center John Egbunu had no impact; despite playing 23 minutes, he missed most of the first half due to foul trouble and finished with two points on 1-of-4 shooting with four rebounds and five fouls … redshirt freshman G Brandone Francis-Ramirez went 0-for-2 from three and is now 4-of-36 from downtown this season (11-of-66 overall) … UF went 7-for-33 as a team in the first half, 16-of-37 in the final 20 minutes
Up next: Florida faces arguably its toughest test of the season on Saturday when it hosts No. 9 West Virginia at noon as part of the 2016 SEC-Big 12 Challenge. The game will air live nationally on ESPN.