February 14, 2019 / 4:39 AM / 8 days ago

Johnson, Hudson help Florida stave off Vandy

Keyonte Johnson scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and Jalen Hudson added 10 points, seven in a crucial late-game stretch as Florida overcame poor shooting to outlast Vanderbilt 66-57 on Wednesday in Southeastern Conference action in Gainesville, Fla.

Feb 13, 2019; Gainesville, FL, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores head coach Bryce Drew reacts against the Florida Gators during the first half at Exactech Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Gators led just 48-46 with 6:49 to play but took charge shortly after Hudson scored all of Florida’s points in a 7-1 run that pushed the margin to eight points, more than enough to hold off the reeling Commodores and snap a three-game losing streak.

Florida (13-11, 5-6 SEC) had dropped four of its previous five games, with two of those coming to No. 1 Tennessee and then-No. 7 Kentucky.

The Gators shot just 33.3 percent from the floor and made only five of 22 attempts of its 3-point attempts but forced Vanderbilt into 19 turnovers, which Florida turned into 26 points.

All 10 of the Florida players who saw action scored at least three points.

Aaron Nesmith poured in a career-high 26 points and took nine rebounds for the Commodores (9-15, 0-11), who have lost 12 games in a row.

Vanderbilt trailed by as many as 11 points just past halfway through in a tepid first half, and a few minutes later, the Commodores began a 12-2 run and tied the game at 24 on a pair of free throws by Nesmith with 3:36 before intermission.

After Florida’s Dontay Bassett hit a free throw to put the Gators up 25-24, the Commodores scored the next six points to sweep to a 30-25 lead before settling for a 33-31 advantage at halftime.

Nesmith paced Vanderbilt in the first half with 11 points and six rebounds, while Matt Ryan added nine points for Vanderbilt.

The Commodores outshot Florida 44 percent to 35 percent in the first half, but 12 offensive rebounds that led to 10 second-chance points kept the Gators within reach.

Florida opened the second half with an 8-0 run and never trailed again.

Next up for Vanderbilt is a home game against Auburn on Saturday afternoon. Florida hits the road for its next two games, Saturday at Alabama and Feb. 20 at No. 19 LSU.

—Field Level Media

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