Some observations following UF’s 87-74 loss to Vanderbilt at the O’Connell Center.
— Florida coach Mike White explained redshirt freshman guard Brandone Francis-Ramirez’ team-high 10 shot attempts was based on matchups against Vanderbilt’s defenders. Still, White admitted postgame he needed to do a better job creating opportunities for his better scorers — senior forward Dorian Finney-Smith and freshman guard KeVaughn Allen. Francis-Ramirez shot his season average going into the game, 20 percent (2-10). They were possessions Florida couldn’t get back on a night it needed to be superb offensively to overcome its defensive shortcomings.
— The Gators allowed Vanderbilt center Damian Jones too many deep touches in the paint, and Florida sophomore center John Egbunu failed to step up to the challenge of guarding Jones one-on-one in the post. Establishing Jones early allowed Vanderbilt to work the ball inside-out and drain 10 of 20 3-pointers as well. Egbunu’s inablity to defend Jones in the post became so glaring that Florida turned to senior forward Dorian Finney-Smith to guard Jones for a stretch in the second half. Finney-Smith forced a steal on a post feed to Jones, but on Vandy’s next offensive possession, the 250-pound Jones backed down the 220-pound Finney-Smith in the paint for an easy layup.
— I know sophomore forward Devin Robinson had a career-high 17 points in Florida’s overtime loss to South Carolina. But Florida still needs to start Justin Leon at forward for defensive purposes and bring Robinson off the bench. Robinson failed to block out Vanderbilt forward Jeff Roberson on an early putback, then was late on a rotation on a Roberson 3-pointer that put Vanderbilt up 9-2 and forced Florida to play uphill the remainder of the game. Florida has lost its last three games in which Robinson has started, all at home to Vanderbilt, Alabama and Florida State.