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UF Men’s Basketball: Florida 78, Vanderbilt 71

Tyree Appleby (22) and Tre Mann (1) during Wednesday night’s game.  

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY DENVER PARLER

Florida 78, Vanderbilt 71
Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center
Gainesville, Fla.

Records: Florida 9-4 (6-3 SEC), Vanderbilt (4-8, 0-6 SEC)

Box Score (PDF)
2020-21 Season Stats

Notable & Quotable

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  *   Florida has won six straight against Vanderbilt, matching the Gators’ second-longest winning streak in series history (7, 2004-07; 6, 1983-86).
  *   The Gators hit seven of their first 11 attempts from 3-point range and finished the game with 10 made 3-pointers, matching a season high.
  *   Scottie Lewis returned after a four-game absence and added 10 points, four steals (matching a career high), and four assists off the bench.
  *   The Gators were +16 in bench scoring, 26-10.
  *   Colin Castleton scored all 13 of his points in the second half. In the two outings vs. Vanderbilt this season, Castleton totaled six first-half points and 30 second-half points.

Noah Locke

On Vanderbilt’s late run…
“Just not being focused. Being lackadaisical. That’s something that we can’t do. I mean, I feel like that was the biggest thing. We pretty much gave in, in a way that wasn’t focused enough and was playing as if the game was over. That’s something that we can’t do. We have to continue to play the same way throughout the whole game. That will help us win at a high level.”

On Scottie Lewis returning and having a big first half…
“Oh yeah, it was a huge lift. It was a huge lift. Scottie being a very active guy. Being able to get in there, make passes, make shots. It was great for us. You know, a lot of energy. It definitely did help us a lot.”

On a slow closing to the game…
“Yeah, I mean it is a little frustrating… It’s just something that we can’t do. Especially trying to win at a high level. I mean, closing out games and playing the same way the whole 40 minutes is something that we have to do. Just being able to stay focused throughout the whole game. Coming out of halftime being able to – we say first four minutes coming out with a lot of energy and focus – but it has to be the whole 20. In order for us to win big, we have to stay focused throughout the whole game.”

Scottie Lewis

On his mindset returning to the floor…
“Just be solid. In our shootaround, Coach (White) told me to play well, play slow mentally, and be solid for my team. That’s what I focused on going into the game. Throughout my entire quarantine, my teammates never stopped calling me, texting me… just keeping me in the loop. I watched every practice. I thought I was going to be back for Georgia, so I was preparing for them. Just watching their film, locking in on them, but then that didn’t happen, so I was locking in on Vandy, knowing that was going to be the game I came back. I started out well, I just have to carry that out the rest of the game and be better for my team late in the stretch. We’re up 20, we can’t blow that lead. Just mental mistakes by myself – all of us. Coach White preached to us that we have to get better and not regress. I think we regressed today. Coach White would say that we regressed today. Practice tomorrow getting prepared for Saturday. Just really lock in and be focused. We’re a lot better than what we showed today in that second half. Anything I can add to our value, I’m going to do that.”

On his health and the team growth….
“I think they’ve grown a lot since I’ve been out. I think my biggest worry… I was scared to come back because of how good they were playing. I wanted to make sure that with the addition of me, we were actually adding and not subtracting with the addition, so I just tried to make sure I was solid. My health is good, my wind is great. It was a mental break, a physical break. I was trying to stay on top of it and my teammates were keeping me in the loop. I never felt like I wasn’t there for my team so I’m happy to be back.”

Mike White

On Vanderbilt’s rally…
“Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about Vanderbilt in that effort because all you’re thinking about is the things that we could have done better down the stretch and should have done better and need to do better in the future and the things I talk to our team about. The way we handled that lead, both offensively and defensively… press-attack, ill-advised fouls… that said, Vanderbilt was terrific. Scotty Pippen was amazing… I thought defensively, they were really, really locked in. The way they competed on the glass was impressive. But between the way they executed and continued to fight down the stretch, Chris… fight and crawl their way back into having a chance to steal this one late was really impressive, again led by Pippen, who I thought was just fantastic.”

On foul trouble and shooting no free throws in the first half…
“Yeah, not a great recipe there, of course. We try to start a little bigger and rewarding guys who I thought had been producing. I don’t think it backfired on us in terms of defending on the perimeter, which was probably our biggest fear coming into this one with Omar and Colin being out on the perimeter more so than other games. I was surprised of the rebounding discrepancy. We’d gotten better in that area, and I just think Vanderbilt played a little bit tougher than we did. Foul trouble hampered us, but, you know, it has in other games as well.  We have to have better foul discipline. We’ve shown it recently, where we’ve played really hard and physical and aggressive, and whether you’re pressing or not, you play a little bit more sound.”