NASHVILLE-- Vanderbilt took No. 7 Florida into overtime Saturday night, but the Gators won a scintillating 77-74 road victory before a Memorial Gym crowd of 13,117. Not until a David Przybyszewski 3-point attempt missed with 0:03 left was the Gators' victory secure.
It was the fifth straight loss for Vanderbilt, which fell three games below .500 at 10-13, 3-9 in the SEC. Billy Donovan's Gators improved to 22-4, 10-2, and scored a sweep over the Commodores; Florida had previously defeated Vandy in Gainesville, 87-75 on Jan. 22.
Vanderbilt had a chance to win the game in regulation when a Moore 3-pointer and a Freije foul shot gave the Commodores a 66-62 lead with 1:55 left. But the Commodores were unable to score on their final three possessions. With the ball and a 2-point lead with 0:56 left the Commodores turned the ball over, and Florida tied the score with 0:04 left on a jumper by Anthony Roberson. A Corey Smith shot at the buzzer rolled out.
In overtime Vanderbilt took a 74-73 lead with 0:34 left on a layup by Russell Lakey, but a Matt Walsh jump shot gave Florida the lead back at 75-74 with 0:18 left. The Gators stole the ball on an errant pass by Mario Moore, and Walsh made two free throws with 4.7 seconds left to provide the final margin.
Vanderbilt called a timeout with 3.7 seconds left after inbounding the ball to midcourt, and then got David Przybyszewski a good look at the basket from 3-point range, but the shot refused to fall.
Przybyszewski, who had been in a shooting slump of late, erupted for 10 points late in the first half to lead the Commodores to a 31-29 halftime lead.
Florida took a 57-50 lead midway through the second half behind senior inside-outside threat Matt Bonner. But Freije rallied the home Commodores back into contention by scoring six straight times to tie the game at 59-59.
The game seemed to be in the Commodores' hands with 1:55 left when, with the game tied, Mario Moore sank a 3-point shot, and Bonner simultaneously fouled Freije. Bonner exited the game with his fifth foul, and Freije sank one of two free-throw attempts to give Vandy a 66-62 lead. But the Commodores failed to score again in regulation, and Florida tied the game to send it into overtime.
Vanderbilt plays at home again on Wednesday night against Arkansas in a matchup between the last-place teams from the SEC East and West. The Razorbacks were losers Saturday to LSU.