Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UF Does Its Worst, Still Wins; Gators Put Horrific First Half Behind Them, Use 26-6 Run to Subdue Commodores

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UF Does Its Worst, Still Wins; Gators Put Horrific First Half Behind Them, Use 26-6 Run to Subdue Commodores

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

GAINESVILLE - Florida didn't play like the nation's top-ranked basketball team in the first half Wednesday night.

It did in the second half, though.

The result was a 74-64 victory over No. 24 Vanderbilt in front of 12,370 at the O'Connell Center.

"We didn't play very well [in the first half]," said guard Lee Humphrey, who keyed the Gators' second-half outburst by hitting 4-of-5 3-pointers.

That's one way to describe the team's worst 20 minutes this season. Florida (20-2, 7-0 Southeastern Conference) shot 29 percent from the field (9 of 31), turned over the ball seven times and was outscored in the paint 16-10 and on the break 6-0.

Nobody made more than two field goals, the Gators couldn't get anything going inside, and the defense suffered because players were too consumed with their offensive troubles.

The result was an 11-point deficit at the break, equaling Florida's largest this season.

"I was surprised we were only down by 11," Gators coach Billy Donovan said. "Look at our field-goal percentage. Look at their field-goal percentage [53.6]. If they make two more 3-point shots, maybe we're down 17 points, and maybe it's insurmountable."

Vanderbilt's lead didn't last very long. Florida opened the second half by making nine of its first 10 shots - including 5 of 5 from 3-point range - in a 26-6 run that lasted eight minutes. By then, the Gators led 56-47 and were on their way to their seventh consecutive win over the Commodores.

Florida shot 72.7 percent from the field in the second half - including 6 of 10 from 3-point range - and held Vanderbilt to 9-of-26 shooting. The Commodores (15-7, 5-3), who were averaging 9.3 3-pointers per game, made just 2-of-10 3-pointers in the second half and finished 3 of 18.

"We will have to play a lot better if we are ever going to beat them," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. …

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