Vanderbilt falls at Florida, 69-61

GAINESVILLE, Fla.-- Anthony Roberson scored 23 points and Matt Walsh added 16 as the Florida Gators defeated Vanderbilt 69-61. The loss was a significant blow to Vanderbilt's postseason NCAA tournament hopes. Vanderbilt may now need an impressive SEC tournament run in order to garner NCAA consideration.

Florida jumped out to an early 6-0 lead when Anthony Roberson twice connected from 3-point range in the first two minutes of the contest.

A 3-pointer by Shan Foster got Vanderbilt to within one of the Gators at 9-8 with 16 minutes remaining in the half. Foster finished with 11 points.

Tennessee native Corey Brewer gave Florida its biggest lead of the first half when he scored on a lay-up with 7:30 remaining in the half to put the Gators up 21-14.

A Shan Foster free throw tied the game at 29 with 54 seconds remaining in the half. Matt Walsh scored a 3-point shot with seconds remaining in the half to give the Gators a 32-29 halftime edge.

Vanderbilt battled the Gators gallantly in the second half and even led on two occasions but the Commodores couldn't hold on.

Two David Lee free throws gave the Gators an 8-point lead, at 38-30, which was their biggest lead of the game up to that point. Lee recorded a double double with 13 points and 14 rebounds.

Corey Smith's jumper gave Vanderbilt a 41-40 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the game. Smith finished with 15 points, which included three made 3-point shots.

Florida quickly retook the lead, but Vanderbilt edged ahead again, 49-48, on Alex Gordon's 3-point shot with 6:35 remaining in the game. Gordon finished with 5 points in 12 minutes of action. However, a David Lee lay up quickly gave the Gators the lead back, which they would never relinquish.

Florida surged to a 62-51 lead with one minute remaining, its biggest lead of the game. A Corey Smith three cut the lead to 6 with 38 seconds remaining but it wouldn't be enough.

Vanderbilt falls to 16-11 (6-7 SEC) with the loss. The Commodores host cellar dweller Georgia on Saturday at Memorial Gym. Florida improves to 17-7 (9-4 SEC). The Gators travel to the reeling South Carolina Gamecocks on Sunday.

Vanderbilt's Mario Moore (1) goes under the basket with Florida's Al Horford (42) trying to block his shot in the second half in Gainesville, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2005. Florida defeated Vanderbilt 69-61. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin) Top Stories