GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Matt Walsh made all 14 of his free
throws and scored 25 points Saturday night to help No. 21 Florida
snap a two-game losing streak with an 81-71 victory over
Vanderbilt (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today).
Anthony Roberson also had 25 for the Gators (14-6, 5-4
Southeastern Conference), who made 21 straight free throws in the
second half to put away a tedious game against the determined
Commodores (14-5, 3-5).
Matt Freije had 18 points to lead Vandy, which defeated Kentucky
at home last Saturday -- part of an impressive season thus far under
coach Kevin Stallings -- but has now lost 13 straight conference
Florida led from beginning to end, but the game was never
comfortable. Roberson, who was held to three points in the first
half, made three straight 3-pointers to help the Gators to a
13-point lead early in the second, but Vandy kept it close.
The Commodores trimmed the deficit to 61-56 and forced Florida
into a bad situation -- inbounding the ball under the basket with
three seconds left on the shot clock. But Roberson got free, made
it to the corner and hit his fifth and final 3-pointer of the night
for an eight-point lead with 2:50 left.
From there, it turned into a free-throw-shooting contest, and
Florida more than responded. Roberson went 6-for-6 down the
stretch; Walsh went 8-for-8. Florida made 25 of 26 in the second
half, and the only miss came from Christian Drejer with 23 seconds
Vandy got 16 points and a nice floor game from Mario Moore. Over
the final 90 seconds, Moore made a 3-pointer and a tough 14-foot
jumper, and Corey Smith hit a 3 to keep the game within reach and
put pressure on the Gators at the line.
The game was the 2,000th in Florida history. The Gators are