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March 6, 2013Vanderbilt couldn't score in the first half, and couldn't stop Florida in the second, as UF routed the Commodores by a 66-40 score on Wednesday evening in Gainesville.
On Senior Night, Gator senior Kenny Boynton's 15 points paced a balanced offensive attack, as UF went on a huge run mid-way through the second half to put the game out of reach. Florida clinched outright possession of the Southeastern Conference regular-season title, as well as the top seed in next week's conference tournament.
Kedren Johnson (15 points) was the only Commodore to notch double-figures in scoring, as VU fell to 13-16 overall and 7-10 in the Southeastern Conference.
Vanderbilt trailed 24-14 at half, with 10 of those points coming from Johnson on six shots from the field. But the sophomore got no help from his teammates offensively, as the other VU players hit a combine 2-of-14 from the field before the break.
The Commodores trailed 31-24 with 15:06 left after a Josh Henderson lay-up, and threatened to make a game of it, but the Gators got a couple of quick 3s from Michael Frazier and Erik Murphy to push the margin up to 13.
VU had a shot to make a dent in the lead at the 9:39 mark, when Sheldon Jeter strode down the lane and hit a short, one-handed shot that appeared to cut the lead to 45-34. But official Doug Shows ruled that UF's Casey Prather, who slid over just as Jeter was getting to the hoop, got to the spot before Jeter.
Jeter protested, Shows assessed him a technical, and what could have been a 10-point Gator lead turned to 15 without a second expiring once Florida's Kenny Boynton hit the technical charity tosses.
When Prather hit a lay-up on the ensuing possession, it was 49-32, Gators, with 9:21 left. Just over a minute later, the lead became 20, and it was unofficially over.
As for VU, its SEC Tournament seed will fall between nine and 11, depending on what happens in its game with South Carolina on Saturday, combined with how Georgia and Texas A&M fare.
A&M fell at home to LSU on Wednesday, tying it with VU at 7-10 in the league. The Aggies travel to Arkansas, which has not lost at home during SEC play, in their league finale on Saturday.
The 8-8 Bulldogs, meanwhile, face Kentucky at home on Thursday, and go to Alabama on Saturday.
Since VU beat each head-to-head, it would win any combination of tie-breakers between the teams.
However, that might not be the best thing for a deep run into the conference tourney. A 9-seed would get Vandy a Wednesday bye, but it would also put VU in a game against the yet-to-be-determined 8-seed, with the winner of that game facing Florida on Friday.