Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Signature Victory Slips Away for UF; Gators Squander Opportunity to Bolster NCAA Tournament Resume

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Signature Victory Slips Away for UF; Gators Squander Opportunity to Bolster NCAA Tournament Resume

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

GAINESVILLE - Dan Werner used one word to describe Florida's 64-60 loss to Vanderbilt on Tuesday night: ugly.

A better one might have been bizarre.

How else to describe the fact that the Gators had a chance to win the game in the final seconds despite:

- Their top three scorers - Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker and Chandler Parsons - going a combined 4 for 28 from the field.

- Not scoring a field goal in the game's final 9:53.

- Outrebounding the Commodores by six.

"It was an ugly game," said Werner, who scored eight points, grabbed five rebounds, and had two steals in front of 11,607 at the O'Connell Center on Senior Night. "There's nothing else you can say."

Just more examples of how the Gators (20-10, 9-6 Southeastern Conference) had a chance to beat the No. 13 Commodores (23-6, 12-3) and leave no doubt that they were going to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007 - and failed.

Florida went on a 16-2 run to erase a nine-point deficit and take a 53-48 lead with 9:24 remaining.

The final two points in that run came on a pair of free throws by Boynton, and they came just 29 seconds after Vernon Macklin's layup with 9:53 to play.

That was the last field goal the Gators would score.

Florida held a 55-51 lead with more than five minutes remaining before Vanderbilt's John Jenkins sparked the Commodores with three 3-pointers for a 60-59 lead with 3:06 to play.

"That guy, he's one of the best shooters in the conference," said Parsons, who scored three points and had two rebounds. "You can't give him any space. In the first half, he hit two, and I had a hand right in his face. He had some uncontested ones. That's something we've got to get better at and control when we watch film.

"Definitely our scouting report was to stop him from the 3-point line. …

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