Florida, currently ranked sixth in the AP poll and seventh
in the ESPN/USA Today poll, enters the game with an
overall record of 15-2 and a 4-0 mark in the SEC after
earning a 77-75 victory at South Carolina Saturday.
The Gators have won 11 consecutive games and have not
lost in nine home games this season. Both of their losses
have come on neutral courts.
Florida has four players averaging double-digit scoring,
including senior Matt Bonner (15.4), freshman Matt Walsh
(14.9), freshman Anthony Roberson (13.9) and sophomore
David Lee (10.4). Lee (7.0) and Bonner (5.8) are the
squadís top rebounders.
Last season, Florida swept the two-game series with
the Commodores. Vanderbiltís last victory over Florida
was a 63-61 road win over the No. 7 Gators Jan. 20,
2001. That also is Vanderbiltís last road victory over
a ranked opponent.
Vanderbilt is now 0-3 when their opponents shoot better
than 50 percent...VUís 47.3 field goal percentage is
the highest in a loss this season...Brian Thornton got
near a double-double for the second consecutive game
with 16 points and eight boards...After not leading
the team in assists for five games, Russell Lakey led
the team in assists for the second consecutive game
at Tennessee with five...For the first time this season,
VU recorded no blocks...This was the seventh time the
Commodores won the turnover battle, but the first time
they did it in a loss...This was the first game this
season in which VUís first basket was a three-pointer.
Vanderbilt and Florida have played just one common opponent
in Tennessee. Vanderbilt lost to the Vols Saturday in
Knoxville, while the Gators defeated Tennessee, 77-64,
Jan. 15 in Gainesville, Fla.
Opponent VU UF
Tennessee L, 66-71 W, 77-64
Freije Moves to 34th in Career Scoring
Junior forward Matt Freije became the 35th member of
Vanderbiltís 1,000-Point Club after scoring 18 points
at Tennessee. With 1,011 career points, he has already
climbed to No. 34 on the schoolís career scoring list.
The last Commodore to enter this exclusive club was
Sam Howard last season. Howard finished his four-year
career 32nd on the list with 1,026 points. Vanderbiltís
all-time leading scorer is Phil Cox, who scored 1,725
points from 1981 to 1985.
At Tennessee, Matt Freije and Corey Smith tied for game-high
honors with 18 points apiece, while Brian Thornton added
16 points and eight rebounds. It was the first time
this season the Commodores have had three players score
at least 16 points in the same game.
Freije scored all 18 of his points in the second half
as he shot 7- of-10 after the intermission. Smith was
4-of-6 from three-point range, which are both career-best
marks. He also played a career-high 38 minutes. Thornton
also had a second-half surge, scoring 12 points on 6-of-9
shooting in the second period.
Vanderbilt Playing Nationís 12th Toughest Schedule
As of Monday, CollegeRPI.com has Vanderbiltís schedule
ranked as the 12th-toughest in the nation. Only Georgia
(1) and Arkansas (5) have tougher schedules in the SEC.
This season the Commodores have played five teams ranked
in the Top-16 of the national polls, including Connecticut
(12), Indiana (6), Notre Dame (6), Alabama (4) and Kentucky
Freshman Mario Moore exploded onto the Commodore offensive
scene against No. 16 Kentucky, scoring a team-high and
career-best 17 points on the strength of a career-best
4-of-7 three-point shooting effort. His previous high
was 10 points at Michigan.
Moore made his biggest contribution in the first half
where he hit three treys in two minutes. He added another
basket and 3-of-3 shooting from the free-throw line
to finish with 12 points.