Vanderbilt and Florida met for the third time this season but for the second time in Nashville. This meeting took place in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament, inside Bridgestone Arena and the change of venue didn't matter to the Dores as they defeated the Gators again, 72-62, in overtime.
It was the third win of the year for Vanderbilt over Florida but it was a tough one to grab. The Gators held the lead early while the Dores were struggling to make shots.
Midway through the 1st half, Vanderbilt began to get hot from deep and eventually took over the lead. Riley LaChance, who lead the Commodores in scoring with 18 points, was the main offensive threat in the 1st half scoring nine of his 18 and helping the team take a 33-28 lead into halftime.
Vanderbilt controlled the majority of the 2nd half but Florida would remain close throughout. Gators sophomore guard Kevaughn Allen was tough to handle. The Commodores have had their struggles with Allen over the past two years and tonight was no different. He along with back court mate Kasey Hill led the Gators in scoring with 16 a piece and were big reasons for their end of the game comeback.
Headed down the stretch, Vanderbilt maintained a four to seven point lead and looked poised to win. Well with about 1:36 to go, Florida stormed back from an eight point deficit to eventually take a 58-57 lead with 23 seconds remaining.
The Commodores would work the clock until Luke Kornet launched a three from the wing that fell short but was rebounded by junior forward Jeff Roberson. Florida would foul and put Roberson on the line where he would go one of two from line but the game was now tied at 58-58.
The Gators had one last shot at a win with nine seconds to go. Hill would race down court and miss a layup that was picked up by Kevarrius Hayes but a huge block from Commodores guard Joseph Toye saved the day and would take things into overtime.
A tired and winded Vanderbilt team grew up even more in the extra period where they outscored the Gators 14-4 and walk away with the ten point win. A clutch three point shot, out of the corner from senior guard Nolan Cressler broke the hearts of Gator nation but completely sealed a minute later by another three from LaChance.
Roberson put the exclamation point on the game with a thunderous dunk and the strong contingent crowd of Vanderbilt fans erupted knowing that victory was in hand.
Four players scored in double figures for Vanderbilt, led by LaChance's 18. Roberson had a strong showing scoring 16 while bring down 8 boards. Kornet had another double-double chipping in 12 points while hauling in 10 rebounds.
Junior guard Matthew Fisher-Davis had a good showing as well scoring 11 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. He also made several clutch three's in the 2nd half that kept the team in the lead.
Vanderbilt now moves on to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament facing off for the third time this season against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Vandy went 1-1 this season with the Hogs, trading wins on the road.
Kentucky plays Alabama in the 1st semifinal game, starting at noon central. Vanderbilt and Arkansas is set to tip-off twenty minutes after the conclusion of Game one. Both games are set to air on ESPN.