Florida basketball score, takeaways: Billy Donovan honored as Gators rout Vanderbilt

By Adam Silverstein
February 15, 2020
Florida basketball score, takeaways: Billy Donovan honored as Gators rout Vanderbilt
Basketball

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

As important as it was for the Florida Gators to honor former head coach Billy Donovan with his court naming on Saturday night, the Gators also had to ensure they took care of business on that updated playing surface. And take care of business they did as Florida (16-9, 8-4 SEC) absolutely routed the Vanderbilt Commodores (9-16, 1-11 SEC) in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

The Gators blasted the Commodores 84-66, leading by 29 points at halftime when the team formally celebrated its former coach by officially christening the O’Dome floor “Billy Donovan Court.” Florida cruised from there for a rousing victory in front of more than two dozen former players, including Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Bradley Beal, Patric Young, Chris Chiozza, Erik Murphy, Jason Williams, Vernon Macklin, Dorian Finney-Smith, Marreese Speights and many others.

What went down on Saturday night on Billy Donovan Court? Let’s take a look at the game with some fastbreak takeaways.

It was over when … the Gators finished the first half on a 7-0 run to take a 48-19 lead at the break. After a 17-2 run put Florida up 21 points, it maintained its advantage while holding Vanderbilt to just five field goals in the opening 20 minutes. Following a disputed foul in the final minute of the opening period, Commodores head coach Jerry Stackhouse was given consecutive technical fouls and ejected from the game. Freshman guard Scottie Lewis hit four straight technical free throws, and freshman point guard Tre Mann drained a three with 8 seconds left to put the hosts up a staggering 29 points entering halftime. The Gators led by as many as 32 points in the second half, though the ‘Dores cut into that advantage substantially before the final buzzer.

Exceptional efforts: Sophomore G Noah Locke was outstanding for Florida, draining 6 of 8 threes for a team-high 19 points. Forwards sophomore Keyontae Johnson and redshirt senior Kerry Blackshear Jr. were consistent all game, combining for 26 points on 9 of 17 shooting with nine boards and eight assists between them.

Odds and ends: Freshman F Omar Payne had a fantastic first half, finishing the game with five points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks, though he did go just 1 of 5 from the line … the teams combined for a stunning 48 fouls … Florida dominated scoring off the bench (25-8) and in the paint (32-22) … the Gators led for 39:45 with the ‘Dores never holding an advantage in the game … Florida swept Vanderbilt 2-0 on the season

What it means: Not much. This is a game the Gators were supposed to dominate, and they did exactly that. Florida has much tougher opponents ahead on its schedule, but it did take care of business against the SEC’s bottom-feeder to go 2-0 on the week. Unfortunately, two of the three SEC teams in front of the Gators in the league standings also won on Saturday with LSU falling to Alabama on the road but still sticking a game ahead of UF.

What’s next? Florida will remain home Tuesday when it hosts Arkansas at 7 p.m. ET in a game that will air live nationally on ESPNU. The Razorbacks are just 4-7 in SEC play on the season.

2 Comments

  1. John says:

    This ceremony should have been at UF vs. Kentucky game, I know they want the “WIN” but the emotion and crowd would have been bigger and better.

  2. David says:

    This was the only time Billy could be in Gainesville (NBA All-Star Break). If they waited until KY the NBA season would have been back up and running and I’m sure Billy couldn’t have made it

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