Involved in yet another dogfight on Tuesday evening, the No. 1 Florida Gators (26-2, 15-0 SEC) once again prevailed by holding on for a 57-54 victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores (15-12, 7-8 SEC) on the road at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, TN.
Florida clinched at least a share of the 2014 SEC regular-season title, extended its school-record winning streak to 20 games and continued a number of other program-best marks including winning 15 SEC games in a single season. UF also improved to 13-2 this campaign in single-digit decisions (0-6 last year) and 10-2 in true road games.
OnlyGators.com breaks it all down with seven quick-hitters:
It was over when / perfect play: Redshirt sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith, with Florida up two and the shot clock winding down, drained a dagger three-pointer to put the Gators up five with 30.9 seconds to play. “When he starts to make some shots, it will open up some other things for his game,” said head coach Billy Donovan. “He had really good looks tonight. … We had to shoot the ball over the top. … Obviously that was a big shot up by two.”
Prominent player: Finney busted out of his slump with gusto, hitting 6-of-11 shots off the bench for a game-high 19 points. He also grabbed a game-high nine boards and filled in a lot of the holes left by senior F Casey Prather, who is still hobbled by ankle and knee injuries. Finney-Smith was 1-for-23 from downtown in his previous five games dating back to Feb. 1 but hit 3-of-6 triples on Tuesday evening. Prather went just 1-for-5 with two points but grabbed six boards, registered four steals and dished three assists.
Significant stretch: Trailing 11-9 early in the first half, Florida broke out with a 13-0 run – including back-to-back threes from sophomore guard Michael Frazier II – and took a 22-11 lead with 8:35 to go until halftime. A 6-0 response by Vanderbilt knocked the visitors back a peg, but UF closed the half with a last-second fadeaway jumper by senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin to lead by seven at the break. Frazier (nine points) went just 2-for-7 from three but grabbed six boards on the evening. Wilbekin (seven points) made only 3-of-10 baskets (1-for-6 from deep) but contributed five assists.
Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.
Continue Reading » Fastbreak: No. 1 Florida edges Vanderbilt 57-54, clinches share of SEC regular-season title