NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Visiting Florida took control late in the first half Wednesday and rode some hot shooting to a 91-72 victory over Vanderbilt inside Memorial Gymnasium.
The Gators (4-1, 1-0 SEC) also took advantage of their inside game by scoring 46 points in the paint.
Vanderbilt (4-3, 0-1 SEC) fell behind after Florida’s 7-0 run that began seven minutes into the game and the Dores were never able to draw even or take the lead again from that point. The Commodores have now lost four straight SEC openers.
Scotty Pippen Jr. led Vandy in scoring with 18, but the sophomore guard has held to 6 of 16 shooting from the field. Trey Thomas (12) and Myles Stute (11) – both freshmen combined to make seven 3s. Dylan Disu had 14 points and eight rebounds.
Vanderbilt next heads to Kentucky (1-6) for a 6 p.m. CT game Tuesday.
Each team got off to a blistering start from the field Wednesday and combined to make eight of their first 11 shots. Florida then broke a 14-14 tie with a 7-0 run only to see Stute drain a corner 3.
The Gators regained control a little bit thanks to their continued hot shooting – they had made 11 of 17 shots 12 minutes into the contest to go up 28-21. Ques Glover’s steal and reverse layup moments later followed by a Tre Mann 3 made it 33-21.
Vanderbilt went 7:56 without a made field goal and missed 11 straight shots at one point toward the end of the first half. Florida took full advantage by building a 15-point lead during that stretch.
Florida’s lead grew to 16 before the halftime break where the score stood at 43-29. The Commodores turned the ball over 10 times and went 3 of 22 from the field after a 6-for-8 start.
Vanderbilt started the second half on an 8-0 run thanks to a pair of Thomas 3s. Scottie Lewis’ three-point play at the 13:55 mark, however, pushed the Gators’ lead back out to 56-43.
A 13th turnover of the game for the Commodores led to a Noah Locke 3 on the right wing with 11 1/2 minutes to go giving the Gators a 64-47 lead. It was a lead that was insurmountable.
Vanderbilt couldn’t get within 10 from there. Florida finished the contest 34 of 55 (61.8 percent) from the field.
Colin Castleton had 21 points and five rebounds for the Gators.
• Disu, Pippen, D.J. Harvey, Stute and Thomas started Saturday’s game for the Commodores.
• Vanderbilt has now made at least four 3s in 22 consecutive games.
• The Commodores are now 71-69 all-time against Florida and have lost five in a row in the series.
• The Gators won a third straight game at Memorial Gymnasium for the just the second time in program history and for the first time since 2001-03.
• Vanderbilt last won an SEC opener in 2016. The Commodores also started that season 2-0 in league play.