Vanderbilt Basketball: No.16 Florida Gators Get Upset in Nashville

Harrison BucContributor IIFebruary 29, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 11: John Jenkins #23 and Festus Ezeli #3 of the Vanderbilt Commodores celebrate during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Memorial Gymnasium on February 11, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. Kentucky won 69-63. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

On senior night at Memorial Gym, the Vanderbilt Commodores handed the No.16 Florida Gators their eighth loss of the season and earned a much-needed resume-building win.

The Commodores are 2-6 against top 25 teams this season, a struggling record which can possibly hurt Vandy on Selection Sunday.

The only other ranked opponent Vanderbilt has beaten this season is No.13 Marquette, which occurred all the way back on December 29, 2011.

The seniors stepped up for Vanderbilt on Tuesday night, but the real star of the game was junior John Jenkins, who didn't miss a shot in the first half.

Jenkins, the SEC top scorer all season, scored 22 points and was 6-9 from beyond the arc.

Taylor provided 18 points, including a couple of big threes down the stretch.

The game was largely in Vanderbilt's hands for most of the game, but in the middle of the second half, the Dores got cold from the field and the 12-point lead was lost.

When Florida's Bradley Beal drained a three to cut the deficit to one with just under six minutes to play, Taylor came back in transition and sank a deep three to keep the momentum in Vandy's favor. They never looked back.

Vanderbilt executed offensively and reached the charity stripe 26 times (making 19 of 26, 73.1 percent) and finished the game with nine straight free throws made.

The Dores ability to attack the basket and make free throws will prove to be a great quality come tournament time.


Billy Donovan had no problem pressing the Dores all game, and, as a result, Vandy freshman guard Kendren Johnson played 26 minutes (double his average) of helping break the press.

It's nice to see Kevin Stallings give the young guys playing time in preparation for the tournament play. Rod Odom, Kendren Johnson and Dai-Jon Parker are key bench players who all have potential to produce.

Vanderbilt protected the ball pretty well and turned it over 11 times compared to earlier this season in Gainesville when they struggled with their press, turned the ball over 17 times and lost 73-65.

The Commodores, who are right outside the top 25, travel to in-state rival Tennessee on Saturday to wrap up the regular season.