Tourney chances slip away as UF falls to Vandy

By Adam Silverstein
March 2, 2010

On Senior Day, the Florida Gators hoped an emotional spark from senior forward Dan Werner coupled with the need for a marquee win would earn them a berth in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Instead, the Gators (20-10, 9-6 SEC) fell 64-60 to the No. 13/19 Vanderbilt Commodores (23-6, 12-3 SEC) at home at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

Werner played well for most of the game, contributing eight points on 3-of-6 shooting with five rebounds and two steals, but an accidental tip-in of a Commodores layup late in the second half may very well have cost Florida the game.

Redshirt junior transfer center Vernon Macklin was a rock for the Gators, scoring 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting with a game-high nine rebounds. However, freshman guard Kenny Boynton shot a paltry 2-for-15 from the field (1-of-6 from downtown), sophomore point guard Erving Walker only added five points on 1-of-9 shooting (0-for-3 from beyond the arc) and junior F Chandler Parsons – the team’s spark plug and most reliable player – barely contributed, only shooting the ball four times for three points.

Read the rest of OGGOA’s Florida vs. Vanderbilt game story after the break!

Vanderbilt opened the game with runs of 9-0 and 9-1 to go up a game-high 12 points (20-8) with 13:37 left in the first half. Florida would chip away throughout the half, ending on a 10-3 run with a dagger three-pointer by sophomore G Ray Shipman at the buzzer. They would go into the locker room only down three even though the Commodores had shot an exemplary 6-of-8 from downtown.

A 10-0 run early in the second half gave the Gators their first lead of the game at 47-46. Their momentum continued as the run expanded to 16-2, putting them up 53-48 with 9:23 to go. That was until Vanderbilt G John Jenkins caught fire from three-point land. Jenkins made three consecutive treys to first cut Florida’s lead to one, then tie the game at 57 and finally give his team a 60-59 lead with 3:08 left in the contest.

Macklin tied the game on a free throw, but Werner’s accidental tip-in (credited to C A.J. Ogilvy) gave the Commodores a 62-60 lead. The Gators, who had not scored in 9:36 at the time, recovered a steal by Walker and had the chance for a set play coming out of a timeout with 17.3 seconds remaining on the clock. Parsons drew coverage away before giving up the ball to a wide-open Boynton – who missed from downtown.

Jenkins finished 6-for-9 from three for a team-high 18 points.

Florida’s first loss of the season after they led with five minutes to go came as they shot only 15.4 percent (2-for-13) from three compared to 50 percent (10-of-20) for Vanderbilt. The Gators will close out the regular season on Sun., March 7 against the No. 3/3 Kentucky Wildcats on the road in Lexington, KY. The game will air live on CBS at noon.

21 Comments

  1. Mark01 says:

    What cost Florida the game and what has cost them several wins down the stretch is the terrible shooting of Kenny Boynton.

    He has attempted 50 more 3’s then Walker who has attempted the second most and he is only making them at a .275 clip. It is impossible to win like that.

    People can blame Dan Werner all they want, but dig deeper and you will find out that it is Kenny Boynton that has killed this teams chances.

  2. Mitch says:

    can we pay CBS NOT to air the game. Here we are 3 years out from back to back and by seasons end we are what we have been from the past 2 years. No growth, no infusion of immediate talent, just a lunch pail bunch fighting to be average. We can still make the tourney, beat UK on their Sr day (right), or win SEC tourney ( uh huh). Cant wait to hear Billy talking up the NIT as a great experience for the team. I think we got the NIT thing down already. NIT = Not in Tournament. We need a brand new back court. Walker and Boynton are bench players.

  3. Bob says:

    I think we need to cut both Boynton and Werner a break. And specifically with Boynton, I don’t know about y’all but I had problems just getting to class on time ad getting my laundry done before I ran out of underwear as a Frosh, much less playing hoops at a high level in front of thousands of people. Remember both are playing as hard as they can. They are college kids and are going to make mistakes. We wouldn’t be in this position w/o either of those guys and their contributions.

    This has been a fun team to watch this year. Much more competitive than the last few years. I think we’ll win a game or two in the SEC tourney and get into the NCAAs. But even if not, Billy has the program steadied IMO.

  4. dp says:

    If you didn’t think I was pissed enough to copy and paste this again….think again! That’s enough of Gators basketball for me…how do you go from beating Tennessee to losing to scrub Georgia to being up 5 tonight with 5 to go and then letting a guy who has made 4 bombs already get clean looks at two more! Enough! This team sucks and are WAY too inconsistent to make the big dance. If Parsons ever wants to be considered more than just “good”, he needs to step it up in big games! 3 points…did I read that right! I hope they don’t even make the NIT. Time to fold it up for the year…they aren’t going to beat Kentucky and they aren’t winning the SEC. I need football to start now!

  5. ReptilesRule says:

    Back to the NIT. Boynton is only a freshman so cut him some slack. Looks like they’re gonna have to make some noise in the SEC tourney as they have little or no chance of beating Kentucky. We have become a run of the mill basketball program. It’s disappointing how we were never able to build anything off the back to back championships. Billy’s back and forth with the Magic took care of that I’m afraid. But we are also only a couple of players away from being back in the tourney and if everyone stays…there’s always hope!

  6. Don’t see how Donovan draws up a play for a guy shooting that poorly from three.

  7. Mark01 says:

    I am not saying I don’t like Kenny. He has been asked to do a lot as a freshman for this team. It’s a tough task for him. I think he will be a solid player. I don’t know if he will ever develop into the pure scorer that I was hoping he would be. He just doesn’t seem to shoot the ball well enough, but a lot can change over the course of a college career.

    We also don’t really have any depth at guard so he has been asked to play a lot of minutes too. Fatigue I’m sure hasn’t helped. You can blame it on the construction of the team as much as anything.

    I was just stating what I saw as the reason this team has struggles getting over the hump. It is the shooting of the backcourt. It has been piss poor. Kenny has shot more 3’s than Ervin and he is shooting about 10% lower so thats why I singled him out.

  8. Neither has been good.

    Good news on the bubble watch front:

    Illinois, Marshall, Minnesota, Cincinnati all lost. Louisville is losing as I type this.

  9. Mitch says:

    Let’s look at Kenny Boynton realistically. Good ball-handler, but not really point guard skills. Ineffective 3 point shooter to say the least. 75% of his 3 attempts are not even close. He has shown little or no spot up mid range game. He has shown little ability to take it to the basket. I find him to be very herky jerky and not at all fluid (see John Wall for fluid). In the playgrounds he would be called gunner and a brick layer. The kind of player that needs 25 or more shots to score 20 points. Im sure he will develop into a good player, but once again we recruited what was to be a savior that turns out to be just an ok player. Unless he transfers, he will be here at least 3 years.

  10. John Shanks says:

    Remember as we all sit here depressed that Vandy is a very good team, and we lost by 4 in the closing minutes. That’s about right for where we are right now. We can beat Kentucky, they’re a better team, but they don’t dominate many teams they play. If we could just make 45% of our shote in the closing minutes we’d have 4 more wins. I’d love to see our shooting percentage with 4 to go. If I recall correctly, we were even with both the Orange and Kentucky with under 4 to go and then got blown out. A lot of that is on Billy as that’s when he’s calling TO and drawing up plays.

  11. Mitch- The beginning of your last comment is a blatant exaggeration in regard to Boynton. First of all, he’s shooting .274 from three. Next, I have never seen a player rim-out more on three-pointers in my entire life. A good portion of his treys are quite close rather than “not even close.” So to drop a number like 75% like it is a fact is just wrong. I would say Boynton is shooting 60% good threes and about 40% bad (and of that 40%, I would say most of them are due to him putting too much muscle behind the ball). As far as the rest of what you said, spot-on.

    John- Donovan is not responsible for making baskets. Say what you will about how the team is shooting late in games, but they are getting open looks – that is Donovan’s job – and he’s doing it. Did you see how many missed layups there were? That’s not Billy D out there not using the backboard, it’s the players.

    The truth is that the backcourt led this team early in SEC play and got some good assistance from the frontcourt. Now that the frontcourt is dominating (Macklin and Parsons in particular) the backcourt has gone absolutely cold. Boynton and Walker have done little in terms of point production in the last half of SEC play.

  12. Mr2Bits says:

    Who was it that took the errant off-balance brick from in front of the FT line with 20 seconds left on the shot clock which could have tied it with about 40 seconds left?

  13. Walker with 0:53 left. He also stole the ball on the next possession after the Vanderbilt timeout.

  14. Malikg says:

    In response to Adam’s query about who is to “blame” for the team’s struggles, the simple answer is Billy Donovan.

    The goal for any top basketball program should be not only to make the NCAA Tournament, but to make the second weekend — the Sweet 16. Anything below that merits examination and disappointment. Now, that goal is absolutely a steep one to shoot for, but it makes perfect sense to me.

    Of course, if a program or coach does not reach that bar, it is of course not grounds for dismissal or even the calling for dismissal — it’s just that when it doesn’t occur, there should be serious introspection and attempts to move towards achieving that.

    The simple equation regarding Donovan’s missteps the past few years have to do with recruiting. Since recruiting the ’04s, he’s had a curious combination of prospects who didn’t pan out, transfers and injuries. He looks to be on the verge of correcting these errors, but the effects in the meantime lie at his feet.

    Again, no calling for his job or his head by any means — he’s a great coach, and Florida is lucky to have him. Sweet 16s are the goal, though, and it hasn’t happened.

  15. Malikg says:

    I also want to defend Chandler Parsons a little bit — I called him out last night while watching the game because his production was so small.

    However, after looking at the box score and thinking about it a little, I think he should be given a pass. Not only did he play 39 (!) minutes, he held Vanderbilt’s most athletic and versatile player, Jeffery Taylor, to 4 points, no rebounds, and 2 turnovers.

    He was also hounded by the aforementioned athletic player whenever he was in the game — in fact, Vanderbilt’s entire defensive gameplan was determined to shadow Parsons the entire game.

    Despite this, on the deciding play, Parsons summoned the energy to beat his man baseline, draw the defense, and kick the ball out to a wide open Kenny Boynton. I don’t think this was necessarily the way the play was drawn up (I think, instead, that UF just ran its offense and looked for the best shot, and that opened up), and I don’t think that it was a play where I’d blame anyone.

    The Gators got an open shot, it didn’t go down — it happens. Erving Walker’s contested shot in the lane the series earlier was much more worthy of criticism…

  16. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    I agree that Boyton has had a bunch of 3’s go in and out…and he has been playing hard on both ends..it’s just we had been led to believe he would come in and make a much bigger impact and it certainly appears he has the green light to take as many shots as he can…..he drives to the basket very well but like Walker the lack of size makes finishing difficult

  17. Good assessment Drew, but as you indicate, Boynton is not to blame for your (meaning everyone’s) high expectations. Boynton didn’t give himself a five-star ranking. He does play very hard, but Donovan did not come out and say he was going to save the team or be the best player or anything like that. I think all he said was that he was excited to have someone as dynamic as Boynton on the team. Fans and recruiting analysts create expectation levels for these guys. Then, when they fall short or don’t meet those expectations, they receive blame. Donovan said in a quote I posted here that he does not like to tell players not to shoot because of confidence issues or trepidation at pulling the trigger when they are open.

    But if you want to blame him for being a starter who is only shooting .274 from three but has taken a ton of attempts, that is deserving (in my opinion). Just don’t blame him based on expectations.

    Boynton has shot poorly all year, but I’ve seen his defense develop leaps and bounds. Last night, he was taking it into the paint against a very big frontcourt. Other nights he has taken it to the hole against smaller frontcourts, he has had more success getting fouled and going to the line.

  18. Malikg says:

    Here’s the funny thing — Boynton has had troubles as a shooter and scorer at times, his purported strengths coming out.

    However, he’s been tremendous at the point guard position and defensively, 2 areas that were by no means counted on going into the season. He’s even been better than Erving Walker at the point at times, to the extent that the complete absence of playing time for Nimrod Tishman is for the most part an afterthought.

    I’m with Donovan on this one — if you have a freshman guard do so well defensively and at point guard, I’ll give him a pass on the other things… for at least one year.

  19. I’m with you on that Malik. I like Boynton more as a PG than I do Walker – who is always looking for the shot and almost seems to be in fast-forward when trying to make any type of move (turning the ball over in the process by losing his dribble, getting it poked-out or slipping).

  20. Mitch says:

    Boynton has great skills except shooting. He was expected to be the offensive threat we needed this year to take the next step. He didnt fill that role. Back to NIT. Stange to me that little walker gets more looks in the paint than Boynton. I give Walker credit for trying to find a soft spot in the paint. When Boynton does get in the paint he seems to put up erratic shots. He always seems to be shooting as he is coming down from the top of his elevation. If we had Rivers and Knight on the roster, Boynton and Walker would be coming off the bench. Billy is a great coach. Lucky to have him. It was thought that Macklin and Boynton would get us back this year. The oddest situation with this team is Tyus. He was thought to dominate once he could play his natural position. Don’t really know what that position is, and seems Billy doesnt either. Convince the guy to come back to sit on the bench at crunch time. Hard to understand.

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