When the Florida Gators beat Vanderbilt on March 6th they clinched the SEC Title.
Saturday, when they beat them 77-66, they earned a spot in the SEC Tournament Finals against Kentucky.
The No. 12 Gators (26-6) struggled shortly after tip-off and were quickly down 11-2, shooting 1-for-7 from the field. Florida fought back on a 13-3 run to tie the game at 128, but a 10-1 Vanderbilt run put the Commodores back up by nine. The Gators were held scoreless for a 7:15 stretch, turning the ball over 11 times resulting in 18 points for Vanderbilt, who led 36-28 at the half.
Vanderbilt opened the second with four straight points, but Florida responded with a 15-4 run to take their first lead of the game 51-50. After shooting 0-2 in the first half, Jr. Erving Walker had nine straight points and ignited fellow Guard Kenny Boynton, Soph., who hit 8-of-16 shots (5-of-9 3FG), scoring 24 points – 16 in the second half. Walker ended the day 6-for-12 (3-for-6 3FG) for 17 Pts.
Senior Chandler Parsons (SEC Player of the Year) had 16 Pts., while the bench added a combined 13 Pts. Freshman Patrick Young had eight rebounds.
Junior Jeffery Taylor led Vandy in scoring with 21 Pts., and SEC leading scorer Soph. John Jenkins was held to 10 Pts. on 3-for-15 shooting.
Florida turned the ball over only once in the second half, outshot Vanderbilt 48.3% to 36.5%, and out-rebounded Vanderbilt 38-30.
For the first time in history, the University of Florida has defeated both teams from the state of Tennessee three times in one season and the first time they have beaten any two teams three straight in one year.
The Gators will look to climb the ladder and snip the net for the first time in Atlanta since 2007, when they were the SEC Champions, SEC Tournament Champions, and National Champions. They face a Kentucky team whom they split the season with on Sunday, 1pm EST on ABC.