Roberson's 30 points leads Gators past VU, 82-65

NASHVILLE-- On a Saturday afternoon with the students back and primed for a big home win, Anthony Roberson went off on the Commodores for 30 points, while David Lee added 11 points and 17 rebounds to lead Florida to a runaway 82-65 Southeastern Conference win. The Gators stayed tied for the SEC East lead at 3-0. It was Vanderbilt's (11-6, 2-2 SEC) first home loss of the season.

NASHVILLE-- In what to date has been a Jekyll-Hyde season, all of Vanderbilt's wins-- and losses-- had been by greater than ten-point margins. Up until Saturday, however, Mr. Hyde had not shown up inside Memorial Gymnasium.

But on a Saturday afternoon with the students back and primed for a big home win, Mr. Hyde made an appearance in a big way. Anthony Roberson went off on the Commodores for 30 points, while David Lee added 11 points and 17 rebounds to lead Florida to a runaway 82-65 Southeastern Conference win. The Gators stayed tied for the SEC East lead at 3-0.

It was Vanderbilt's (11-6, 2-2 SEC) first home loss of the season.

Roberson, the Gators' All-SEC guard who had exploded in much the same way against Vandy last year in the SEC Tournament, followed up a 34- point performance Wednesday against Auburn with a 10-of-17 shooting afternoon vs. the Commodores. Several of his six three-pointers came from well behind the arc. Florida, meanwhile, dominated the Commodores on the glass to the tune of 45-25, and had 36 free-throw attempts to Vandy's eight.

The Vanderbilt team that showed up Saturday bore little resemblance to the team that had opened up the conference slate with easy wins over Alabama and Tennessee. Coach Kevin Stallings said afterwards he had seen the poor performance coming, after the Dores had practiced poorly on Thursday and Friday.

"Unfortunately we played like we practiced," said Stallings. "We had two very mediocre days of preparation, and unfortunately, my belief that you play the way you practice came true today. We're obviously disappointed."

Ironically, the Commodores, one of the nation's best three-point shooting teams, were able to sink 12 threes, normally a robust number. The bad news? The 12 treys came on 34 attempts. For several interminable dry periods, the long balls clanked off the rim and into the hands of Florida defenders.

"Against Tennessee we made 18 three-pointers, and I think we just got it in our heads that we're just a three-point shooting team," said Shan Foster, who led Vandy with a career-high 18 points. "We'll have to work a little harder in practice next week, and hopefully next time we'll have a better showing."

Billy Donovan's Gators utilized a perplexing zone defense, daring Vandy's array of 3-point shooters to pull the trigger from outside. It turned out to be a successful strategy, as Vandy shot just 38 percent from the floor in falling to a 16-point halftime deficit.

When the shots from outside wouldn't fall, the Commodores had no inside game to fall back on. Corey Smith left the game in the first half with an injury, while post men Dawid Przybyszewski and Julian Terrell both ended up fouling out.

"They extended their zone, and we didn't penetrate it," Stallings said. "We had some guys that weren't fired up and anxious to play this game, and a couple of guys that have been very good for us have had a couple of poor days of preparation, and it certainly showed."

Just one week earlier Vanderbilt had set a school record with 18 made 3-pointers, but in this game it was the Gators who opened up red-hot from outside. Behind the outside shooting of Roberson and Lee Humphrey, Florida stormed to a 22-9 lead, before Kevin Stallings called a timeout with 12:05 to go.

Fueled by some Florida turnovers and a pair of Foster three-pointers, Vandy would climb back to tie the game at 24-24 with just over six minutes left. But the Commodores went cold again against the Florida zone defense, and the Gators finished the half on a decisive 19-3 run for a 43-27 halftime lead.

Midway through the second half Florida stretched its lead to 26 points at 65-39. Vanderbilt staged a mini-rally in the final minutes to cut the lead to 12, but it was too little too late.

As Kentucky had done on Wednesday, the Gators were able to expose Vandy's inability to score from inside. The Commodores got 10 points from Dawid Przybyszewski, but all of his field goals were 3-pointers. From post men Julian Terrell, Ted Skuchas and DeMarre Carroll, Vandy was able to get only 8 points total.

"Our challenge all season long has been to find some consistent productivity inside," Stallings said. "We may have to look at doing some things, because we run plays and get the ball to point-blank spots, and we're not converting. We've just got to do a better job of getting the ball in the basket, and hopefully that will take some of the pressure off our perimeter game."

Mario Moore also contributed 10 points and 7 assists. Terrell led Vandy in rebounding with 7.

The Commodores now have a week off before a pair of road games. Vandy travels to Georgia for a 3 p.m. game next Saturday, then plays South Carolina on the road the following Wednesday.

Game Notes:

Corey Smith's injury was described as a "painful knee bruise" that is not expected to cause him to miss any future games. He left the game in the first half and did not return, though he was able to watch the second half from the bench.

Florida's starting lineup included a pair of Tennessee natives, sophomore Lee Humphrey of Maryville, and freshman Corey Brewer of Portland.


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