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UF Men’s Basketball: (5) Florida 69, (12) Vanderbilt 63

Tre Mann (1), who tallied 16 of his team-best 22 points in the second half Thursday, is averaging 20.7 points and shooting 64.4 percent over his last four games.
Photo to Alex de la Osa

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY DENVER PARLER

(5) Florida 69, (12) Vanderbilt 63
SEC Tournament
Bridgestone Arena
Nashville, Tenn.

Records: Florida 14-8 (9-7 SEC), Vanderbilt 9-16 (3-13 SEC)

Box Score (PDF)

Notable & Quotable

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  *   Tre Mann led the Gators with 22 points and six assists, along with seven rebounds. Mann has scored 20+ in three straight appearances and is averaging 20.8 points over his past four games played.
  *   Noah Locke, who was the only Gator in the game with prior SEC Tournament experience, scored 13 and made three first-half 3-pointers.
  *   Florida used its eighth different starting lineup of the season, as freshman Samson Ruzhentsev made his first collegiate start.
  *   The Gators finished the year 3-0 vs. Vanderbilt, their first time beating the same team three times in a season since doing so vs. Kentucky and Tennessee in the 2013-14 season. It marked only the second time the Gators have gone 3-0 vs. Vanderbilt (2010-11).
  *   The all-time series between Florida and Vanderbilt stands tied at 71-71. The Gators have never led in series history, and the series is even for the first time since it was 6-6 following a UF win in the 1952 SEC Tournament.

Head Coach Mike White

On the team’s defense late…
“I thought down the stretch defensively we were better. Gotta be even more sharp tomorrow and moving forward, and then of course I thought our ball security and converting at the foul line and the command of our point guards in Tyree (Appleby) and Tre (Mann) were positives as well.”

On Scottie Lewis’ play…
“Our guys responded in our 1-3-1 and gave us a little bit of life, a little bit of juice. The activity of, really, Scottie. You know, Scottie didn’t get it going offensively and I didn’t put him in the game for a little bit, of course, early on, but I thought down the stretch his defensive energy really helped us.”

Tre Mann

On Vanderbilt’s shooting…
“Coach White told us at halftime that we were playing with fire because we let (Vanderbilt) get a lot of open threes in the first half that they didn’t make. He told us that we can’t play with fire. They got open looks in the second half and they knocked them down. Then, it was just like ‘alright, we can’t let them get anymore threes off.’ I think we did a better job at contesting the three-point shot at the end, but it was the same message – just no threes. That’s what we had to do to beat this team. We didn’t do a very good job of it, but we pulled it out at the end. That’s all you can ask for.”

On the defensive connectivity…
“Once we got a couple timeouts, we were telling each other it was flare screens. They were setting flare screens from the corner, and the corner guys were open because we were in, and things like that. We were telling each other to beat the screens and be ready for the flare screens because it’s kind of hard to tell everybody in the flow of the game. Once we got those couple timeouts and we kind of talked about it, it was kind of easier to contest the three. So, that’s what we did.”

On Tyree Appleby and Scottie Lewis showing up late…
“Just can’t have it. There’s too much on the line right now, but I mean – it happens. We have to move forward, have to get it off our minds early and quick because we knew it was going to take everything to win this game. We just had to move past it. I’m sure they won’t let it happen again, so you just have to learn from it.”

Noah Locke

On Vanderbilt’s shooting…
“You know, just to not fall into it. Basketball is a game of runs. Eventually, we’re going to make a run at some point, so it was just about how we respond to it. We allowed some threes, like you said, and it wasn’t the best defense we could play. Just bouncing back from it and that’s pretty much what we did.”

On Tre Mann…
“I’ve just seen him playing with a lot of confidence. I mean, he could always play this way. Just him going out there and playing with a clear mind. Just playing his game. That’s pretty much what I see. Every time I look at him, I just know he’s playing free. Not thinking of any of the negative things that might have done – maybe turned it over, anything like that. He just moves on, not allowing outside things to affect him. He’s just playing free.”