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Florida opens SEC play with win at Vanderbilt

The Associated Press
Florida forward Anthony Duruji hangs from the rim after a dunk during the first half Wednesday against Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Colin Castleton scored a career-high 23 points and Florida opened the SEC season on Wednesday night with a 91-72 win over Vanderbilt in the Gators’ first game since Keyontae Johnson’s collapse.

Johnson, who entered the season as the SEC Preseason Player of the Year, collapsed early in an 83-71 loss to then-No. 20 Florida State and was rushed to a hospital on Dec. 12, where he was held for 10 days. Florida’s remaining nonconference games were postponed.

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Who: LSU  (6-1, 1-0 SEC) vs. Florida (4-1, 1-0)

When: 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: O'Connell Center

TV: CBS

Radio: 103.7-FM, 98.1-FM, AM-850

Castleton was 11 of 13 from the field and the Gators (4-1) shot 34 of 55 (62%). Scottie Lewis added 16 points, Tyree Appleby scored 13 and Noah Locke had 10. Anthony Duruji, starting in Johnson’s place, finished with 11 points.

Scotty Pippen Jr. had 18 points for the Commodores (4-3). Dylan Disu added 14 points, Trey Thomas scored 12 and Myles Stute had 11.

Florida built a 16-point lead late in the first half and kept its lead in double digits for most of the second.

"Yes. Crazy. I didn't quite see that coming," Florida coach Mike White said of the Gators playing better than expected considering the layoff. "I think late game you could see our wind catch up with us a little bit and, also, Vanderbilt's just terrific with their switching defenses and their aggressive defenses.

"We didn't handle it great down the stretch, but then I guess there's a 3-4 minute spurt when we didn't. And then we finished the game, you know, making some good decisions. Defensively, I thought for the first 20 minutes of the game we were pretty sharp."

Florida forward Colin Castleton shoots as Vanderbilt forward Dylan Disu defends during the second half Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn. Florida won 91-72.

Florida 91, Vanderbilt 72

FLORIDA (3-1)

Castleton 11-13 1-4 23, Duruji 4-5 2-2 11, Lewis 5-8 4-4 16, Locke 4-6 0-1 10, Mann 3-10 2-4 9, Appleby 4-8 4-4 13, Payne 1-1 2-4 4, Lane 0-1 1-2 1, Glover 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 34-55 16-25 91.

VANDERBILT (4-2)

Disu 4-9 6-7 14, Stute 4-7 0-0 11, Harvey 1-10 2-2 4, Pippen 6-16 6-8 18, Thomas 4-6 0-0 12, Evans 0-1 2-2 2, Wright 2-5 0-1 5, Millora-Brown 3-3 0-0 6, McBride 0-1 0-0 0, Lawrence 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-58 16-20 72.

Halftime_Florida 43-29. 3-Point Goals_Florida 7-17 (Locke 2-3, Lewis 2-4, Duruji 1-1, Appleby 1-3, Mann 1-4, Glover 0-1, Lane 0-1), Vanderbilt 8-22 (Thomas 4-6, Stute 3-4, Wright 1-3, Evans 0-1, McBride 0-1, Harvey 0-3, Pippen 0-4). Rebounds_Florida 34 (Mann 10), Vanderbilt 26 (Disu 8). Assists_Florida 14 (Lewis, Mann 4), Vanderbilt 12 (Pippen 6). Total Fouls_Florida 23, Vanderbilt 19.

Vanderbilt forward Dylan Disu collides with Florida guard Tre Mann, who was trying to draw a charge during the second half Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn.