No. 7 Florida To The Limit; Florida Wins 77-74 In OT
Florida's freshmen phenoms hit all the big shots as
the No. 7 Gators hung on to defeat Vanderbilt 77-74
in overtime Saturday night in Memorial Gym.
With four seconds remaining in regulation, Florida's
Anthony Roberson knocked down a runner in the lane to
tie the game at 66. Then in overtime, a Russell Lakey
layup gave the Commodores the lead with 34 seconds to
go. Then Matt Walsh drove the lane and hit the game-winning
shot with 18 seconds left.
Vanderbilt was led by junior Matt Freije, who netted
24 points on the night.
The game began very sluggish for both teams. After
four minutes of play, only five points were on the scoreboard
as Florida led 3-2. In the early going, the combined
field goal percentage was a miniscule 20 percent on
five for 24 shooting.
But things soon heated up. After failing to get off
a shot in the first nine minutes, Freije nailed a three-pointer
to tie the game at nine. Later, VU freshman Mario Moore
hit a bucket from long range to give the Commodores
the lead at 14-12.
After every big shot that Vanderbilt made, Walsh seemed
to hush the crowd with his own offense. After each of
the big three-pointers by VU, Walsh knocked down his
own from long range.
Vanderbilt closed out the half with an unlikely Commodore
heating up. Sophomore center David Przybyszewski went
on a tear as he scored 10 points in four minutes at
the end of the first half. The scoring included two
three-pointers and a thunderous dunk off a missed shot
that brought the crowd to their feet. Przybyszewski
finished the game with 14 points.
Vanderbilt held a slim 31-29 lead going into halftime.
Missing from action in the first half was Florida’s
leading scorer Matt Bonner, who failed to score a point.
Florida head coach Billy Donavan said that he was
furious with Bonner’s play and demanded the senior
needed to lead the team in order to get a tough SEC
road win. Bonner must have taken the words to heart.
Bonner caught fire in the second half as he poured in
17 points and two three-pointers.
For a period in the second half, Bonner and Freije
seemed to be playing a game of horse. Each player gave
the other their best shots and neither one would back
down. During one stretch Freije scored 12 straight points
for the Commodores.
“Matt Freije is a great, great player. We did
not have an answer for him,” said Donovan.
The biggest play of the game came with the score tied
at 62 and Vanderbilt holding the ball after a Florida
turnover. Moore, who finished the game with 14 points
and four three-pointers, spotted up and shot a three
that hit the back rim, bounced to the top edge of the
backboard, and eventually fell into the hoop. During
the shot, Bonner fouled Freije while battling for position
and Vanderbilt was given two free throws. The foul was
Bonner’s fifth and retired him for the rest of
The rest of the game was controlled by the Florida
freshmen. Roberson and Walsh carried the Gators to victory
and improved their record to 22-4, 10-2. The Commodores
fell to 10-13, 3-9.
“I’m proud of out team. I don’t
say that often in defeat, but I am proud of our team,”
said Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings.
Vanderbilt returns to action Wednesday night as Arkansas
comes to Memorial Gym. The game begins at 7 pm CT.