Florida’s 67-61 loss Wednesday at Vanderbilt was bad. How ugly? Consider the Gators failed to score in the first 7:53 against a Vanderbilt team that came into the game on a seven-game losing streak.
But it’s not the worst loss that the Gators have suffered in the last 11 years under Billy Donovan. Here’s my list, based on games that I’ve covered since 2003:
5. Manhattan 75, Florida 60 (March 18, 2004): Florida exited the NCAA Tournament barely after it started, as the fifth-seeded Gators were upset by 12-seed Manhattan in the first round in a Thursday noon game. Matt Walsh and Anthony Roberson combined to go 11 of 25 from the floor, while David Lee was a non-factor with 7 points and 5 rebounds. Roberson had referred to Manhattan as “Montana” leading up to the game and that wasn’t the only lack of attention to the scouting report. Defensively, the Gators allowed jet-quick Manhattan guard Luis Flores to score 26 points and take over the game.
4. UCF 57, Florida 54 (Dec. 1, 2010): Florida would go on to reach the Elite Eight and win the SEC later in the 2010-11 season. But the Gators were flat in this non-conference game at the Amway Center. Florida senior forward Chandler Parsons was just 1 of 9 from the floor in his homecoming game. UCF coach Donnie Jones, an assistant under Donovan from 1994-2007, got the best of his mentor
3. Vanderbilt 67, Florida 61 (Feb. 3, 2015): Road losses in the SEC are going to happen, especially at quirky Memorial Gym. But it was more how the Gators lost, getting outrebounded 42-26 while getting nine shots blocked, that made the nationally-televised performance rate as one to forget.
2. South Alabama 67, Florida 66 (Dec. 22, 2009): The game was scheduled right before Christmas break at the O’Connell Center, and Florida played like it was ready to go on vacation. The cold-shooting Gators went just 3 of 22 from 3-point range against the Sun Belt team that went on to finish the year 17-15. Florida failed to get a defensive stop at the end of the game, allowing South Alabama forward DeAndre Hersey to score the game-winning putback shot at the buzzer.
1. Jacksonville 71, Florida 68 OT (Dec. 20, 2010): It was another letdown game for the Gators over Christmas break and Florida’s only loss to A-Sun Jacksonville in 14 meetings under Donovan. The Gators were sloppy with the ball, finishing with 17 turnovers to just 9 assists, and also missed 11 free throws (23-34). Still, Florida had the chance to send the game to a second overtime, but guard Erving Walker missed a 3-point attempt in the closing seconds to cap a 3 for 11 shooting day.