Down 71-68 with 8.9 seconds left, the Gators had a chance to tie the score.
Guard Egor Koulechov fired a three-pointer in the corner directly off the inbound pass. The ball clanked off the rim and into the hands of center Kevarrius Hayes. Hayes dished a pass over to the right wing where guard KeVaughn Allen hoisted up another outside shot.
When Yante Maten drilled his second three-pointer in 12 seconds, another Florida lead died. The 11-point advantage the Gators built crumbled d…
The follow-up jumper didn’t drop either, and Florida (17-10, 8-6 SEC) dropped its second SEC game in a row, 71-68, to the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday in Nashville, Tennessee.
In what has become a recurring theme, the Gators couldn’t find the bottom of the net in the game’s final minutes while allowing Vanderbilt to take advantage and overcome a deficit.
Florida built a nine-point lead with 7:34 left in the game, but failed to hold on.
On Wednesday, Florida surrendered a seven-point lead against Georgia with just under two minutes to go. The Bulldogs forced overtime and eventually won that game to snap UF’s two-game winning streak.
Both Florida and Vanderbilt’s’ offenses went hot and cold in the game’s opening 20 minutes.
The Gators stayed on top for the majority of the first half due to the scoring of redshirt sophomore forward Keith Stone.
Stone led all first-half scorers with 15 points on while shooting 5-7 from the floor. He finished the game with 20 points to lead UF.
The remainder of Florida’s playmakers, however, failed to get it going throughout the game. Apart from Koulechov, who scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half, no Gator scored more than 10 points.
Vanderbilt shot an even 50 percent from the floor in the first half, led by senior forward Jeff Roberson’s nine points. But nine turnovers and 10 personal fouls committed by the Commodores kept them trailing 34-28 at halftime.
In the opening minutes of the second half, guard Jalen Hudson started to get involved in the offense. The redshirt junior finished a layup through contact to give the Gators a 40-32 lead, then finished again in the lane less than one minute later.
Hudson ended the game with 10 points. Despite reaching double figures after failing to score against Georgia on Wednesday, Hudson struggled from the field against the Commodores, shooting 4-of-12 while failing to connect from beyond the arc.
Florida once again built a 60-51 lead in the second half after two triples from Koulechov on the right wing.
But once again, Vanderbilt stormed back, going on an 8-0 run and eventually tying the game at 62 with a three-pointer from guard Riley LaChance with 5:04 left.
Both teams traded points in the game’s final minutes. Down 68-67, LaChance drove in the lane and gave Vanderbilt its first lead of the half with an easy finish at the rim.
The Gators couldn’t convert down the stretch. After a tough offensive rebound from Hayes, he passed out and the ball found Hudson in a one-on-one situation with less than 45 seconds to play.
Defended by Commodores guard Payton Willis, Hudson laid the ball up off the back of the rim and out.
The struggles on offense, combined with allowing a combined 32 points between Vandy’s LaChance and Roberson, created a tough situation for White’s team to climb out of.