Commodore Comeback Falls Short

Pippen scores 15 in setback to Florida


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt nearly came back from an 18-point, second-half deficit Saturday at Memorial Gymnasium, but visiting Florida held on for a 61-55 victory.

The Commodores narrowed the gap to 55-49 with 2:50 to go, but Noah Locke’s 3 with 2:22 remaining made it a 58-49 game and seemed to take the wind out of the Vandy comeback sails.

Saben Lee’s layup with 25 seconds left, however, cut it back down to 58-53. That would be as close as Vandy would be able to get as the Gators (13-8, 4-3 SEC) made enough free throws down the stretch.

Scotty Pippen Jr. Scored 15 points to lead Vanderbilt (8-13, 0-8 SEC) which has now dropped nine in a row. Lee added 11 and Ejike Obinna collected 12 rebounds – a career high.

The Commodores host LSU (17-4, 8-0 SEC) at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Vanderbilt went nearly six minutes without a made field to start the game Saturday. Matthew Moyer’s layup at the 14:04 mark cut Florida’s lead to 10-5.

The Commodores went through another scoring lull – this one of nearly five minutes – that was broken again by Moyer, this time with a left-wing 3. Keyontae Johnson immediately answered on the other end with a 3 of his own to put the Gators up 17-11.

Vandy twice sliced the deficit to three – once on an Obinna dunk at 21-18 and then on a Jordan Wright 3 from the right corner at 24-21. Florida responded before the break to take a 26-21 lead into halftime.

The Dores had 10 turnovers compared to just seven made field goals.

Florida came into the second half and quickly upped its advantage to 34-23 on Johnson’s three-point play. Locke buried a triple moments later making it 37-23 and forcing a Vandy timeout.

Vandy tried to get something going and trailed by eight on a Pippen layup at 39-31. The Gators answered with back-to-back-to-back 3s stretching the margin out to 48-31.

Lee’s steal and layup got Vanderbilt within 10 with 5 1/2 minutes to go. Maxwell Evans then hit consecutive 3s from the left corner putting Vandy in striking distance at 55-49.

That set up the final 2:36 seconds of regulation.

Johnson had 20 to lead Florida. The Commodores had 17 turnovers and 17 made field goals.



Vanderbilt junior Saben Lee (1,079) passed Bo Wyenandt (1,078) for 42nd on the program’s all-time scoring list. Bruce Elder is 41st with 1,086.

• The Commodores now lead the all-time series with Florida 71-67 and 44-18 at Vanderbilt.

• Vanderbilt is now 1-10 when trailing at halftime this season.

• Vandy is now 0-11 this season when trailing with five minutes to play and 0-12 when trailing with two minutes to play.

• Vanderbilt senior Clevon Brown (knee) missed his 12th straight game due to injury.

• Obinna made his seventh start of the season for Vandy on Saturday.

• Attendance on Wednesday was announced as 9,582 giving Vanderbilt an average of 9,126 fans per game after 15 home contests this season.