Gator run fueled by execution
Published: Sunday, January 27, 2008 at 11:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 27, 2008 at 11:31 p.m.
You kept waiting for it to end.
They all end, don't they?
Basketball is a game of runs so when Florida hit a couple of 3s and Marreese Speights scored twice, there was the run — a 10-0 spurt that gave Florida an impressive 21-6 lead.
Except, it didn't stop there. Not even close.
“You call timeouts, play better,” said Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings. “Get the ball inside, get fouled. Make your layups. We didn't do any of those things.”
And so the run continued. Stallings tried a timeout, set his defense and then watched
three of his players run a different defense.
On the other end, it looked like the Commodores were trying to put a basketball into a square hole. They missed bunny after bunny and the run continued.
Layup. Dunk. Free throw. Layup.
This was no longer a run. It was Forrest Gump's jog through America.
“I was shocked when I looked up and saw it was 34-6,” said Florida coach Billy Donovan.
“It was a crazy run,” said Speights. “I've never seen anything like that. You want to let things come to you but they were coming pretty quick.”
It finally ended with a Vandy 3-pointer by Alex Gordon. But the 23-0 run that Florida put together over a span that barely exceeded five minutes of playing time effectively ended a game that was supposed to be a statement game for the Gators.
If it was, the statement was that Florida — a team that looked mediocre at best in the fall of 2007 — looks like a pretty good college basketball team.
Vandy made some runs of its own but never came closer than a 13-point deficit. The run took care of the game. The rest of the day was just holding on, countering baskets with baskets and continuing to play at the frenetic pace that caused this blowout to happen in the first place.
Because the run of all runs was caused by the running.
Vanderbilt wanted to pressure defensively and set up its half-court offense on the other end. Florida wanted to turn the game into a mess.
Which is exactly what the Gators did.
“It looked like practice a lot,” Donovan said. “We got the game going up-and-down. The game was chaotic and when it got chaotic our looks were a little cleaner than their looks.”
The entire game was breathless, the basketball going up the court at warp speed. And Florida kept feeding the monster with crisp passes and execution.
This wasn't simply street ball with referees. It was a well-executed plan. Ridiculously-well executed.
“I haven't seen that happen very often,” said Nick Calathes, who had 10 assists.
Actually, Florida did have a 24-0 run against North Florida in November, but this was against a ranked SEC team. No Ospreys here.
Dan Werner — who had another strong game with 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists — saw something similar in high school.
“We had a game where the other team didn't score in the second half,” Werner said. “But we only scored 17 because they held the ball.”
During the run, six different Gators scored. During the run, Florida scored nine baskets and eight of them resulted from assists. During the run, Florida missed one shot. During the run, Vandy missed all seven of its field goal attempts. During the run, it sounded like the roof was going to fly off the O-Dome.
Although this was a team with a freshman center who admits to getting nervous on the road, this was still an experienced Vanderbilt team that was undressed by a young Florida team.
“I think it was a collective rattling,” Stallings said.
They were rattled and Florida was rocking. In what he called a “desperation move,” Stallings inserted Andre Walker, normally a small forward, in at power forward. Finally, the run was over. But it was too late for the Commodores.
“We were outplayed and outcoached,” Stallings said.
And run right out of the building.
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