Jacksonville Sports Day

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Florida Runs Winning Streak to Five in Nashville

Photo by Vanderbilt Athletics/John Russell

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Florida’s Andrew Nembhard scored 19 points as the Gators beat Vanderbilt 71-55 Wednesday night to extend their winning streak to a season-high five straight.

The Commodores (9-19, 0-15 SEC) extended their losing streak to 16 games, the longest in program history, and dropped to 8-9 at home. They must beat Arkansas in next Wednesday’s home finale to keep from posting the first losing record at home in 67 seasons at Memorial Gym.

Vanderbilt has not won anywhere in 2019, earning its last victory on Dec. 31 against UNC-Asheville. No SEC team has gone winless in conference play since Georgia Tech went 0-14 in 1953-54, and the Commodores have never posted fewer than two league wins.

“We are trying to win games. We are prepping to win games,” Vandy coach Bryce Drew said. “… By no means are we looking ahead (to the offseason). This is a day-by-day build. In some areas, we progressed today. And in some areas, we regressed today. We’ve got to become more consistent.”

The Gators (17-11, 9-6 Southeastern Conference) also swept Vanderbilt with their first victory at Memorial Gym since 2014, and coach Mike White experienced his first win at any level at the SEC’s oldest gym. White had been 0-9 as a player and an assistant coach who also lost his first three trips here as Florida’s head coach.

Nemhard, who hit his first six shots, had 12 by halftime. Jalen Hudson added 17 points, and Kevarrius Hayes had 14.

Saben Lee led Vanderbilt with 15 points, and Simisola Shittu and Matthew Moyer each added 10. Aaron Nesmith, Vandy’s leading scorer in SEC play, was held to six points.

Nemhard scored seven of the Gators’ first nine points, including an opening 3 that put Florida ahead to stay, and the Gators led 25-12 midway through the half. Vanderbilt finally knocked down some shots, and Moyer’s 3 pulled the Commodores within 34-27 with 2:20 left. Allen answered with a 3 as the Gators finished the half on a 7-2 run for a 41-29 halftime lead.

The Gators opened the second half on a 6-1 run, and Allen’s jumper with 18:28 to go gave Florida its biggest lead yet at 47-30. Nemhard’s 3 with 14:55 left made it 50-32 as the Gators seemed easily in control.

Vanderbilt fought back with a 12-4 run and pulled within 54-44 on a 3-pointer by Lee with 10:25 left. The Gators scored the next nine points and pushed the lead back to 18 down the stretch.

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