Vanderbilt-Florida: Commodores Ruin Senior Day for the Gators, Win 64-60

Eric AdamsContributor IApril 3, 2017

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Freshman John Jenkins knocked down six threes to lead Vanderbilt to a 64-60 win over the Florida Gators.

The sharpshooter put the Commodores on his back and ruined Senior Day for the folks in Gainesville.

Tonight was another great example of how tough this team is.

ESPN's Jimmy Dykes may have said it best. He said the 'Dores were built to play on a neutral court. He was specifically talking about their free throw shooting, but it also applies to their toughness.

This team can overcome a lot. Tonight it was no-shows by Jeffery Taylor and Brad Tinsley.

Taylor got into early foul trouble and could never get into the flow. He only scored four points on 2-for-6 shooting.

I wish Taylor could get the ball at the top of the key more often. It seems he is also taking baseline jumpers or driving too far under the basket. Why don't we see more clear-out plays and let him do his thing?

Tinsley looks like he has totally lost his swagger. He missed all three of his long-range attempts, including an air ball on his first shot. He lost his starting job to Jenkins, but more importantly, a ton of his minutes. I thought the two guards would be splitting minutes, but tonight Jenkins had a 31-18 advantage in minutes played.

I really like Brad, and we need his outside shooting. At this point, he just isn't knocking down shots.

A few other thoughts about Vandy's big road win:

Is it too early to say that Jenkins is my favorite Commodore ever? I guess that wouldn't be fair to Shan Foster or Billy McCaffrey. It's just so hard not to get excited about his potential in Nashville.

To take the next step, he has to work on being able to create his own shots. His team-high 18 points were the sole result of spot-up shooting. Every time he tried to drive to the basket he looked out of his element.

Let's see what coach Kevin Stallings had to say:

"He made some difficult shots—he made some shots with hands in his face," Stallings said. "He is a great shooter. He was in a little bit of a zone tonight—we were fortunate to find it a few times. (Florida) was mostly (playing) zone the second half. They were matching up, and we were just trying to move them around to see if we could have the defense lose sight of them."

Vernon Macklin is a beast. He made three or four highlight plays that were simply jaw-dropping. He was the only Gator in double figures, scoring 21 on the night.

It was a nice battle between Macklin and A.J. Ogilvy. It showcased the type of big guys that gives our Australian trouble. Ogilvy used his quickness and finesse to score 16 and grab eight rebounds. Somehow he also got four steals. The 'Dores may have trouble in the Big Dance if they run into a DeMarcus Cousins clone.

Jermaine Beal still looked like he was forcing things at times. 4-for-12 shooting and four turnovers, and a lot of plays that left you shaking your head. I guess I'm being nit-picky; he did hit three from behind the arc. If you watched the game, you know what I'm talking about.

ESPN's Jimmy Dykes has a foot fetish. Have you ever seen that many close-ups of footwork on a free-throw attempt? He just sounded a little creepy how many times he said he likes watching feet. Anyway, in all seriousness I think he does an incredible job for ESPN. He's always giving info that is a little out there, but really interesting.

So what did this win mean for Vanderbilt? It officially wrapped up the two-seed in the East for the upcoming SEC Tournament. It kept the small hope alive for a regular season title. Kentucky could end that with a victory over Georgia tomorrow night.
It also put the Commodores in a secure position for a three-seed for the NCAA Tournament. Regardless, I think it takes a five-seed off the table and puts the range between a two and four-seed.
Things are shaping up for an exciting March.
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