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No. 17 Florida Gators basketball (24-8) was embarrassed on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the 2017 SEC Tournament as the Vanderbilt Commodores (19-14) completed a rare three-game season sweep of the event’s No. 2 seed with a 72-62 overtime win at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
OnlyGators.com breaks down the latest loss below.
It was over when … After ending regulation on a 9-1 run, Florida was outscored 12-1 to open overtime, finding itself down 11 with two minutes left in the game. The Gators didn’t make a field goal in OT until there was 52.6 seconds left, while allowing the Commodores to go 5-for-5 from the field in the five-minute period.
First half focus: Vanderbilt made six of its first 11 threes as Florida started 1-for-7 from beyond the arc. Though the Gators started the half well and lead by six midway through the period, they fell behind by seven while making just 2-of-13 shots as the Commodores went on an explosive 13-2 run. UF actually missed 11 of its last 15 field goals to end the half and allowed an easy alley-oop with just seconds remaining to face a five-point deficit entering the break.
Second half salvo: Florida evened things up at 42 but saw that effort wiped out as it went without a field goal for 7:35, allowing Vanderbilt to go back up seven with over five minutes to play. It looked dire for the Gators until the final 3:15 of regulation as they put together a tremendous 9-1 run with multiple chances to win the game down the stretch. Junior forward Devin Robinson and sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen hit back-to-back threes to tie the game with 1:42 to play, and the teams each went 1-for-2 from the line to have it knotted at 58 with 9.7 seconds left. UF had the final possession but missed two shots as senior point guard Kasey Hill drove to the hoop and missed a layup, and sophomore center Kevarrius Hayes was blocked as he attempted to put back the rebound.
Exceptional efforts: Though Allen only went 5-for-16 from the field on Friday, the Gators would not have been in the game without him draining 4-of-11 threes and keeping them in the game late. Robinson also posted a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds on the evening.
Significant stats: Florida shot an atrocious 34.4 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from beyond the arc, in large part due to a total lack of bench scoring, which has been a halmark for the Gators’ success this season. UF was outscored 19-13 off the pine by VU.
Odds and ends: Florida is 0-5 against Vanderbilt under White with three losses by two points or less and another in OT … UF is now 17-48 against VU in Nashville … the loss was White’s 11th against an unranked opponent over the last two seasons, second straight to Vanderbilt … the Dores have now swept the Gators in a three-game season series three times with 2017 joining 1982 and 1990 … Hill went 5-for-16 from the field, missing a number of layups, though he only committed a single turnover … second-leading scorer Canyon Barry, a graduate transfer guard, missed all three of his shots and did not get to the line, posting no points on the evening … Vanderbilt made 11-of-27 threes and 13-of-17 free throws … VU outscored UF 14-4 in OT
What it means: The Gators have now dropped three of their last four games and fall to 3-3 without redshirt junior center John Egbunu, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. Florida went form a possible No. 3 seed in the 2017 NCAA Tournament to a team that may lose out on a No. 4 seed and potentially not play opening round games in Orlando, Florida, as expected.
Up next: The 2017 NCAA Tournament begins next Thursday, and Florida will learn its fate on Sunday evening after conference tournaments conclude.