February 17, 2018 / 11:40 PM / 3 months ago

Vanderbilt squeaks by Florida

Vanderbilt forward Jeff Roberson and guard Riley LaChance are making the most of their last games as Commodores. On Saturday, the two seniors carried the Commodores to a come-from-behind 71-68 victory over Florida at Nashville’s Memorial Gymnasium.

Roberson scored 26 and LaChance had 21 for Vanderbilt (11-16, 5-9 Southeastern Conference), while junior forward Joe Toye added 13.

Forward Keith Stone scored 20 for Florida. Egor Koulechov added 14 and Jalen Hudson had 10 for the Gators (17-10, 8-6).

The Commodores had trailed since midway through the first half before LaChance hit a pair of foul shots with 2:53 left to tie the game at 66. At the 1:53 mark, he hit a lay-up to put Vanderbilt up by one.

Both teams had difficultly scoring from there. The Gators fouled Toye in the corner with 12.1 seconds left, and five on the shot clock. Toye hit both to put Vandy up three.

The Gators took 22 more shots than did Vanderbilt, but the Commodores kept it close by going 22 of 24 from the foul line.

Florida took a 34-28 halftime lead and made its advantage 11 on Koulechov’s 3-pointer with 15 minutes left.

But Roberson, who had the first 13 Vandy points of the second half, kept the Commodores close, before his teammates pitched in.

LaChance, playing with four fouls, hit a pair of 3s, the second one from about five feet behind the arc to tie the game at 62 with 5:04 left.

Florida hit its first five shots of the game, but found itself trailing 12-11 at the first media timeout with 14:21, with Vandy’s Roberson and guard Max Evans burying early 3-pointers.

But the Gators did a terrific job the rest of the half in extending their defense and making perimeter looks for Vanderbilt terribly difficult, and the Commodores were routinely forced to work deep into the shot clock. The Commodores had nine turnovers to nine field goals in the first half.

Vandy missed its next five 3-pointers, and didn’t get one again until Toye connected with 40 seconds left in the half.

Florida’s Stone stole the show on the other end, scoring 15 first-half points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field and playing all but one minute.

—Field Level Media

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