Three observations following Florida’s 71-68 loss to Vanderbilt at Memorial Gym:
— Offense had been a problem for the Gators in squandering leads in the final 10 minutes. This time, it was defense that cost the Gators. Florida was outscored 27-19 in the final 10 minutes due to numerous defensive breakdowns and fouls. The Gators were able to get better looks and didn’t drain the shot clock, and it resulted in point guard Chris Chiozza and senior guard Egor Koulechov making some shots down the stretch. But it wasn’t enough.
— The inability for Florida to make short shots inside the rim continues to hinder this team. Florida went 7 of 19 from 3-point range but were just 20 of 44 on two point guard. Kevarrius Hayes made a couple of post baskets early and Keith Stone hit some mid-range layups. But Chiozza and Mike Okauru both blew wide open layups inside, while Stone missed a makeable runner in the lane with 6 minutes left. Of course, the biggest missed two came from Jalen Hudson, who had a drive to the basket with 36 seconds left but failed to use the glass on a straight ahead drive that would have allowed the Gators to regain the lead.
— Despite a move back to the starting layup, junior guard KeVaughn Allen couldn’t build off his 19 point game against Georgia, finishing with just 7 points on 3 of 8 shooting. Allen made a big drive to put Florida up 68-66 with 2:27 left, but remains too passive to demand the ball down the stretch despite his scoring and athletic ability. Had Florida attacked Vanderbilt senior guard Riley LaChance a little more with Allen and Chiozza off the bounce, the Gators could have had a chance to pull out a close win. Instead, it was an afternoon of more heartbreak.