Gators Bounce Back Big

The Gator basketball team showed some moxie, character and dead-eye shooting in destroying the Vanderbilt Commodores in Nashville Sunday afternoon 94-69. Florida put the giveaway loss to South Carolina behind them and had one of their finest performances of the last two seasons.

Florida had lost its last two trips to Music City USA, but this one came rather easily and provided quite a bit of redemption.

Chandler Parsons and Nick Calathes were so embarrassed by their free throw misses in the loss to Carolina they went to work at about 3:00 a.m. when they returned from Columbia. The work paid off as Parsons had a career best 27 points, making 10-of-11 from the field including 7-of-8 from three-point range. Parsons added eight rebounds and four assists without a turnover, while Calathes scored 15 more. They were supported by Erving Walker who had a season high 17 points and added six assists with just one turnover.

The first half started innocently enough with the two teams exchanging baskets for a 7-7 tie before Florida turned it over on four consecutive possessions helping Vandy take a 13-7 advantage. A Calathes three-pointer ended the Vandy run and sparked the Gators to a 16-2, capped by three consecutive long range baskets by Parsons. The teams swapped a baskets for a couple of minutes making the score 28-22 before Kenny Kadji scored to start a 7-0 run that put the Gators up 35-22 with 7:40 to go in the half.

Florida extended the lead with more long range shooting as Parsons hit his fifth from outside the arc and Erving Walker added two more. The half ended about as well as the Gators could have hoped with an offensive rebound by Parsons and a buzzer beating three point basket by Calathes to pus the Florida lead to 19 at 56-37. Amazingly despite all that scoring only five Gators were on the board at intermission. Walker and Parson each had 15 while Calathes and Hodge had ten apiece. Kadji's six off the bench rounded out the first half scoring.

The Gators scored the first seven points of the second half to go up 26 and Vandy never got closer than 20 points the rest of the way. In fact the final score would have been more one-sided, but the Commodores scored the game's final seven points to make the final score a bit more respectable. To be fair, the Commodores were basically playing without All-SEC center A.J. Ogilvy who was obviously sick and played just 15 minutes scoring four points and grabbing two rebounds. Those numbers are a far cry from the 15.8/6.8 he was averaging, but it's doubtful Ogilvy's best effort would have made a difference on this day.

The Gators improve to 17-3 and are now 4-1 in the SEC. Florida picks up its second SEC road win of the season and get a split of two road games this week. The Gators return to the O'Dome Wednesday night when the Georgia Bulldogs (9-10, 0-4) come to town.

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