Published November 20, 2014
Between errant passes and rushed shots, it was clear early on that No. 25 Vanderbilt had no answer for Florida's press.
The Commodores turned the ball over 17 times, most of them against trapping double teams, and lost 73-65 at No. 12 Florida on Saturday.
Vanderbilt (16-7, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) now has dropped consecutive games for the second time this season and likely will drop out of The Associated Press college basketball poll.
Jeffery Taylor led the Commodores with 25 points, and leading scorer John Jenkins added 15. But Florida dominated every other phase of the matchup and extended its winning streak in the series to four games.
"We didn't do a very good job of attacking (the press)," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "It was disruptive and we did a poor job with our spacing. We did a poor job with our ball handling. It caused problems."
Kenny Boynton led Florida (19-4, 7-1) with 18 points, and Bradley Beal added 16 as the Gators won their seventh consecutive game.
The latest one had everything to do with 3-pointers and turnovers.
Florida made 11 of 24 shots from behind the arc and disrupted Vanderbilt with nearly every dribble.
"Our press was the reason we won the game because we were able to force turnovers and get them to play fast and keep them from running their sets," Beal said. "We were really patient and then we trapped hard and we were able to rotate and force turnovers. ... It's probably our best performance."
Vanderbilt had been able to overcome turnovers issues in recent weeks, winning at Marquette, at South Carolina and at Alabama with at least 17 turnovers. No such luck in Gainesville.
The Commodores had their hands full defending Boynton and Beal, too.
The guards came up huge in the second half. Beal scored 14 points after the break. Boynton drained a 3-pointer with 1:10 remaining after the Commodores made it a four-point game and then sank two free throws with 25.9 seconds left to seal Florida's 19th consecutive victory at home.
Erving Walked scored 11 points for Florida, and Mike Rosario had 10 off the bench.
"We did a really poor job handling the pressure," Taylor said. "We had a lot of turnovers that resulted in easy points for them."
Vanderbilt used a 9-0 run early in the second half to take a 43-40 lead, and was up 49-46 before Florida took over.
Beal started a 10-0 run with a 3-pointer. He added a tip-in and another 3 in the spurt. Just when it looked like the Gators were going to pull away, they went four minutes without a field goal. Vandy had plenty of chances to retake the lead, but Beal's driving layup with 2:04 left made it a six-point game again.
Boynton's shot from behind the arc was equally huge.
The Gators closed it out from the free throw line, making 16 of 17 in the game and 14 of 14 in the second half.
"We tried to come in here and get a good start, but the press hurt us a lot," Jenkins said. "That was the main difference in the game."
The Gators survived all sorts of early foul trouble to lead 37-34 at halftime.
Patric Young played just three minutes before picking up his second foul. Erik Murphy and Beal joined him on the bench late in the first half with two apiece.
With the three starters sidelined, the Gators turned to bench players Will Yeguete, Rosario, Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather. Yeguete had eight rebounds in 16 minutes, and Rosario scored 10 points in 12 minutes.
They carried Florida for that stretch.
Boynton and Beal carried the Gators down the stretch.