Florida basketball: 3 takeaways from UF's 88-72 loss to Vanderbilt Commodores
Florida basketball continued its downward spiral without All-SEC center Colin Castleton, falling 88-72 at Vanderbilt on Saturday.
The Gators (14-15, 7-9 SEC) dropped their third straight and are in danger of posting their first losing season since 2014-15, when Florida went 16-17 in Billy Donovan's final season.
Vanderbilt (16-13, 9-7 SEC) beat Florida with a balanced attack, with six scorers in double figures, led by 18 points from center Liam Robbins.
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Here are three takeaways from the game:
Florida's defense continues to struggle without Colin Castleton
The Gators have given up 80 or more points in all three games since Castleton went down with a broken hand on Feb. 15 against Ole Miss,
Vanderbilt jumped to a 46-36 halftime lead and didn't let up, shooting 51.7 percent from the floor (31-of-60) and 41.7 percent from 3-point range (10-of-24).
"They’ve been playing really well offensively since the beginning of conference play," Florida coach Todd Golden said. "They’re one of the only teams all year that we haven’t been able to keep off the three-point line. That continued to be an issue for us today, didn’t do a good enough job there."
Florida was unable to defend without fouling and Vanderbilt cashed in, going 16 of 23 from the free-throw line. Centers Jason Jitoboh and Alex Szymczyk each had four fouls.
“I felt like we were trying to score with them," Florida point guard Kyle Lofton said. "A team like ours, now, we’ve got to have ugly wins. We have to figure it out on the defensive end. We’re not going to outscore anyone."
Another tough day on the boards
Vanderbilt outrebounded Florida 42-31 and outscored the Gators 21-15 in second-chance points.
Robbins had nine rebounds, including three offensive boards, as the Gators had issues boxing out the 7-footer. Vanderbilt finished the game with 13 offensive rebounds, while Florida had 12.
Big scoring games for Florida guards Riley Kugel, Kyle Lofton
The 6-foot-5 Kugel scored a team-high 20 points but was inefficient, going 8 of 19 from the floor. He's the first Gator freshman to post back-to-back 20-point games since Kenny Boynton during the 2009-10 season.
Lofton scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half, going 5 of 11 from the field and 3 of 6 from 3-point range.