GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida began Wednesday’s contest on a 9-2 run and never looked back en route to a 78-71 victory at Exactech Arena.
Scotty Pippen Jr. once again led the way in the scoring column for the Commodores with a career-high 32 (he also had six assists and five rebounds), but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Gators from sweeping the regular-season series. Dylan Disu added 18 to go along with nine rebounds for Vandy.
The Commodores (4-8, 0-6 SEC) return home at 7:30 p.m. Saturday to host South Carolina (4-6, 2-4 SEC).
Florida began the evening with a trio of triples, two out of the hands of Tre Mann. Vandy came right back and, thanks to a long 3 from Jordan Wright and a Pippen layup, respectively, was down 11-9 with 14 minutes left in the half.
The Gators responded with a 9-1 run and took a 20-10 lead after a Noah Locke 3 – Florida’s fourth of the first half. Anthony Duruji made Florida’s fifth 3 of the game to make it 23-12 at the 8:58 mark.
Pippen continued to pour in points and his layup with seven minutes to go until halftime got Vandy within 25-19. The sophomore guard then got charitable and a dish to Ejike Obinna led to a dunk cutting the score to 27-23 a minute later.
Once again Florida was not deterred and eight straight points from the home team built the margin out to 35-25 with just less than four minutes to play.
Vandy would go into the break down 37-29 with 18 of its points coming from Pippen who shot 7 of 12 while his teammates combined to go 3 of 13 from the field. Nobody off the Vanderbilt bench scored while Florida had 20 bench points in the first 20 minutes.
A little more than four minutes into the second half, Tyree Appleby drove the lane for an easy layup making it 45-31. Colin Castleton scored from inside the paint one possession later pushing the margin to 47-31.
Another Castleton jumper with 12 1/2 minutes to go put the Gators up 20. Florida’s largest lead of the night was 22.
With three minutes remaining, Vanderbilt went all out with a comeback attempt to get as close as 73-69. Two Maxwell Evans 3s, a Disu triple and four from Pippen completed a 13-2 run – but it wasn’t enough as the Gators made their free throws down the stretch,
Mann led Florida (9-4, 6-3 SEC) with 15 Points.
• Pippen, Disu, Wright, Trey Thomas and Obinna started Wednesday’s game for Vanderbilt, the ninth different starting lineup for the Commodores in the 2020-21 season.
• Pippen is the only Commodores to have started all 12 games for Vandy this season.
• Pippen Jr. has scored at least 15 points in 10 straight games, the longest streak by a Vanderbilt player since John Jenkins in the 2011-12 season (19 straight). That is also the longest streak by any SEC player this season.
• Vanderbilt has now made at least four 3s in 27 consecutive games.
• The Commodores are now 71-70 in the all-time series against Florida.
• Vanderbilt last defeated Florida on Feb. 17, 2018. The Dores last won at Florida on Jan. 21, 2017.