Florida scores last 9 points to beat Vanderbilt 82-78

Mar 1, 2022, 6:17 AM | Updated: 8:25 pm
Florida forward Colin Castleton (12) drives against Vanderbilt center Liam Robbins, right, during t...

Florida forward Colin Castleton (12) drives against Vanderbilt center Liam Robbins, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

NASHVILLE (AP) — Colin Castleton scored 19 points, and Phlandrous Fleming Jr. made a 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds left as Florida scored the last nine points of the game to beat Vanderbilt 82-78 on Tuesday night.

Florida (19-11, 9-8 SEC), which trailed by as many as nine points in the second half, beat Vanderbilt (14-15, 6-11) for the ninth straight time. It’s the longest stretch by either team in the series.

Scotty Pippen Jr.’s jumper gave Vanderbilt a 78-73 lead with 44 seconds remaining. Castleton answered with a pair of free throws, Fleming blocked Pippen’s layup attempt on the other end. Tuongthach Gatkek’s layup cut the Florida deficit to 78-77 before Fleming’s go-head 3.

Pippen had a chance to tie it but missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Castleton ended it with two more free throws.

Castleton was 6 of 15 from the floor and grabbed eight rebounds. Fleming added 16 points and six assists. Myreon Jones had 13 points and Tyree Appleby 12 for the Gators.

Pippen scored 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting and made five 3-pointers. Pippen entered on pace to become the first SEC player to average 20-plus points a game in back-to-back seasons since LSU’s Ronnie Henderson accomplished the feat in 1994-95 (23.3) and 1995-96 (21.8).

Trey Thomas added 17 points for Vanderbilt, which shot 65% (17 of 26) but missed six of 13 free-throw attempts in the second half. The Commodores used a 9-2 surge for a 63-54 advantage with 10:10 to play, and held the lead until Fleming’s late 3.

Florida hosts seventh-ranked Kentucky while Vanderbilt plays at Mississippi in regular-season finales on Saturday.

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Florida scores last 9 points to beat Vanderbilt 82-78