Gainsville, Fla-- (VUAD) Florida opened the game with Vanderbilt on a 9-0 run and held off a charging Commodore squad in the second half, winning the SEC opener for the two schools, 81-74, Saturday afternoon at Exactech Arena in Gainesville, Fla. Egor Koulechov led the way for the Gators with 22 points.
Jeff Roberson paced the Vanderbilt effort with 18 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Matthew Fisher-Davis added 17 points, Saben Lee 13 points, Riley LaChance 11 points, and Payton Willis chipped in 10 points and four assists.
Vanderbilt never recovered from the early Gator run, and eventually trailed by 20 at the break, 40-20. However, the Commodores did not go away and responded in the second half and cut Florida's lead to four at 74-70 with 1:38 to go. Florida then scored five of the game's next six points to pull away for the victory.
Florida converted on 42.6% of their shots from the floor, while Vanderbilt shot 41.9% from the field and 51.4% in the second half.
The Commodores return to action on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. CT against Alabama.