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Friday, January 27, 2023
<p dir="ltr"><span>Florida guard Andrew Nembhard recorded 11 assists in Florida's 81-72 win over Texas A&amp;M on Jan. 22.</span></p>
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Florida guard Andrew Nembhard recorded 11 assists in Florida's 81-72 win over Texas A&M on Jan. 22.

 

Florida guard Jalen Hudson was sprinting toward the basket when guard Andrew Nembhard found him.

 

Nembhard had hurried up the court with the ball, and he stopped behind the three-point line to launch it to the airborne Hudson, who slammed the ball down through the hoop.

The alley oop in transition extended the Florida lead 25-12 more than halfway through the first half.

Nembhard and Hudson piloted a Gators offense that shot 48 percent from the floor en route to a 71-55 win over Vanderbilt on Wednesday night.

It was Florida’s first win in Memorial Gymnasium under coach Mike White, and the victory stretched its winning streak to five games.

Hudson dropped a season-high 17 points against the Commodores (9-19, 0-15 SEC), and Nembhard scored a game-high 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting.

The freshman’s first miss of the game didn’t come until the 6:10-mark of the second half, a play in which he recovered his own miss after it was blocked by Vanderbilt guard Maxwell Evans under the basket. Nembhard then lofted the ball back to center Kevarrius Hayes, who drew a foul and went to the free-throw line.

By then, however, Florida (17-11, 9-6 SEC) already established a comfortable 60-46 lead thanks to 53.6 percent shooting during the first period, including 50 percent from three-point range.

The Gators made six three-pointers before the halftime buzzer, carrying a 41-29 lead into the break.

Florida’s defense kept Vanderbilt’s offense out of rhythm for the better part of the matchup. Commodores guard Saben Lee was the most efficient, finishing the night with 15 points.

Most of Florida’s good fortune on the offensive end came from its ability to get second-chance opportunities and capitalize off the Commodores’ breakdowns on offense.

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The Gators scored 17 points off 14 Vanderbilt turnovers, and they notched 11 second-chance points.

As well as Florida was shooting the ball and defending, the Commodores fought back into the game midway through the second half. Vanderbilt went on a 12-4 run, led by Lee and forward Matthew Moyer, with 10:26 left to briefly cut the Florida lead to 10. That was after the Gators led by 18 during the period.

Hudson hit a pair of free throws and Hayes, who finished with 14 points on a perfect 5 of 5 from the field, scored six straight to put the Gators back up by 18 at one point and close out the game in Nashville.

The five-game conference winning streak is the Gators’ longest in SEC play since the 2016-17 season.

They did it with a defense that leads the SEC with the fewest points allowed per game (63.5) and the fewest three pointers allowed per game (6.4) and with an offense that has improved its efficiency by finding various ways to get its players involved in the scoring.

Follow Alanis Thames on Twitter @alanisthames and contact her at athames@alligator.org.

Freshman guard Andrew Nembhard led the Gators in scoring with 19 points in their 71-55 win over Vanderbilt on Wednesday night.

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