Another game to shore up an NCAA bid, and another close loss for the Gators. Yes, Vanderbilt is a good team, but it was a home game for Florida, and with only a road trip at Kentucky remaining, it was a win Florida needed.
Instead, the Gators were unable to maintain their slim lead in the final minutes, and the Commodores pulled out a 64-60 victory in Gainesville Tuesday night.
Vernon Macklin provided most of the punch for Florida, scoring 21 points and securing nine rebounds to lead the Gators in both categories. No other player scored in double digits for Florida.
The starting guards, Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker, were a combined 3-24 from the floor, including 1-9 from beyond the arc. Compare that to Vandy's starting backcourt who was a combined 10-24 shooting, inlcuding 9-15 from 3-point range, and you have the main reason why Florida lost the game despite dominating the boards.
John Jenkins led the Commodores with 18 points while center A.J. Ogilvy added 16, including eight rebounds. The win improves Vanderbilt's record to 23-6.
Florida (20-10) has one more regular season game, and will be hard pressed to beat Kentucky on the road. Should Florida lose on Sunday, they will likely need to win at least two games during the SEC tournament to be a safe pick for the NCAA tournament and end their two-year NCAA drought.