Florida vs. Vanderbilt score: Gators win fifth straight game in rout on the road

By Adam Silverstein
February 27, 2019
Florida vs. Vanderbilt score: Gators win fifth straight game in rout on the road

Image Credit: UAA Communications

Wednesday night’s game between the Florida Gators and Vanderbilt Commodores was never in question. Florida (17-11, 9-6 SEC) won its fifth straight game in a dominant effort over Vanderbilt (9-19, 0-15 SEC) with the visitors never trailing on the road in Nashsville, Tennessee. It was as complete a game as the Gators have played as they cruised to a finish and suddenly have an opportunity to make some noise over the final few games of the regular season.

Let’s take a look at what went down in UF’s fifth consecutive win.

It was over when … Florida responded to seeing its lead cut from 18 to 10 points with a 6-0 personal run by senior center Kevarrius Hayes to go up 16 with 6:07 to play. Hayes made a jumper and four straight free throws to reverse the scoring trend, and UF held VU to nine points over the final 5:42 to cruise to the finish. The Gators led by as many as 21 points late in the second half and led for 38:48 of the 40-minute game with the game tied for the other 1:05 once points were scored.

Exceptional efforts: Freshman point guard Andrew Nembhard posted a breakout scoring effort, hitting all three of his triples and 7 of 8 shots overall for a game-high 19 points with 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Redshirt senior guard Jalen Hudson did not shoot a high percentage (5 of 13) but continued trending upward with 17 points and 5 boards. Hayes also had 14 points and did not miss a shot all night with five baskets and four makes from the charity stripe.

Odds and ends: UF shot 48 percent from the field, eclipsing 40 percent for the fourth straight game; it had hit below 40 percent of its shots in four of six games prior … other than shooting well across the board (.421 from three, .938 from the line), the Gators did not dominate the stat sheet, though they did have 17 points off 14 ‘Dores turnovers … guards senior KeVaughn Allen and freshman Noah Locke struggled, hitting a combined 4 of 15 shots for 11 points … Locke is 9 of 39 from the field (.231) and 6 of 30 from downtown (.200) during Florida’s five-game winning streak

What it means: Unlike some previous games — when the Gators had to sweat even with large leads — this one was easy work. The best news is that Florida avoided a so-called “bad loss,” but there was not much worry against a Vanderbilt team winless in SEC play. UF has five straight SEC wins for the first time since the 2016-17 season and will look to continue that run as it goes on to face tougher competition to close the regular season. An NCAA Tournament berth now seems likely for the Gators, which dug themselves out of a self-inflicted ditch, but they can’t take that for granted just yet. UF is one of four teams at 9-6 in SEC play, so it is also officially in contention for the crucial No. 4 seed in the SEC Tournament.

Up next: Florida hosts Georgia on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. in a game that will air live nationally on SEC Network. It is the last unranked opponent the Gators will face in the regular season as they close at home against LSU and then on the road at Kentucky.

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