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Fisher-Davis, Vanderbilt derail No. 19 Florida

Fisher-Davis, Vanderbilt derail No. 19 Florida
Published On: Sat, Jan 21
Mar 21, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Wichita State Shockers forward Derail Green (1) shoots a three-point shot over Cal Poly Mustangs forward Joel Awich (25) in the second half during the 2nd round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Fisher-Davis was in coach Bryce Drew's doghouse earlier this week for the second time this season. He temporarily escaped after helping Vanderbilt deliver its most impressive win of the season.

The junior guard scored 19 points, including the go-ahead basket with 2:22 remaining, as Vanderbilt recorded a stunning 68-66 victory over No. 19 Florida on Saturday in SEC play at Gainesville, Fla.

Fisher-Davis didn't start Tuesday's loss to Georgia after drawing a technical foul in the previous game against Tennessee and tossing his gum in the direction of the bench. That didn't sit well with Drew, who watched video of the incident with Fisher-Davis and made it clear his actions were unacceptable.

Fisher-Davis was back in the starting lineup against the Gators (14-5, 5-2 SEC) and made three 3-pointers while playing 32 minutes.

"Matthew did a tremendous job," Drew said. "He picked his spots wisely in the second half. He rose up and shot the ball with confidence and made some big shots in that run that gave us the lead."

Junior guard Riley LaChance and senior center Luke Kornet added 11 points apiece as the Commodores (9-10, 3-4) snapped a four-game losing streak. Senior guard Nolan Cressler scored 10 points, including a key basket in the final minute.

Sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen scored a season-best 29 points for Florida, which dropped its second consecutive game. Junior forward Devin Robinson added 12 points for the Gators.

Allen had an opportunity to win the game for Florida in the final seconds but his corner 3-pointer bounced off the rim.

The second straight defeat was tremendously disappointing to Gators coach Mike White.

"Our focus needs to improve immensely," White said. "We've known that all year. Now it needs to improve tenfold. We took about six steps backwards today. Our ownership needs to improve."

The driving hoop by Fisher-Davis gave Vanderbilt a 64-63 lead and Cressler added two free throws to give the Commodores a three-point edge with 90 seconds remaining. Cressler's drive down the baseline made it 68-64 with 37.5 seconds to go to leave Florida in a big hole and Vanderbilt held on to end its skid.

"It's been a tough stretch," Drew said. "We have lost a lot of close games. Our guys came out with a lot of energy today in a great environment."

The Gators went 8 of 25 from 3-point range after missing all 17 of their attempts in Tuesday's loss to South Carolina. Allen made five 3-pointers and was 10 of 18 shooting as he recovered from a three-game stretch in which he averaged just 5.3 points on 5-of-18 shooting.

"It's heartbreaking to lose two games straight," Allen said. "We've just got to continue to stay together and do our jobs and get ready to work."

White alluded to some focus issues and also indicated there was unnecessary tension in team huddles during timeouts.

"Now there's a fork in the road," White said. "Do we panic? Do we point fingers? Do we blame each other? Or do we simply man up and put some of our deficiencies on ourselves and find a way to get better."

The Commodores trailed by seven early in the second half but didn't allow Florida's lead to get any bigger. Robinson's basket gave the Gators a 49-44 advantage with 10:17 to play before his squad lapsed into a drought of more than three minutes.

Vanderbilt seized the opportunity with 12 consecutive points. Sophomore swingman Joe Toye's three-point play gave the Commodores a 50-49 edge and Fisher-Davis followed with two 3-pointers for a seven-point lead with 7:19 remaining.

The lead was short-lived as Florida answered with seven straight to tie the score at 56-56. Allen scored the last five, including a tying 3-pointer with 5:31 remaining.

Allen drained another 3-pointer to give the Gators a 61-59 lead but Kornet answered with a long 3-pointer to put Vanderbilt back on top with 3:12 left. Senior guard Canyon Barry's driving hoop 23 seconds later represented Florida's final lead.

Allen scored 14 first-half points to help the Gators hold a 32-27 lead at the break.

Vanderbilt started strong with eight straight points before Florida answered with the next seven. A string of six consecutive points from Allen gave Florida its first lead at 15-13 with 6:34 left in the half.

A 3-pointer by LaChance provided the Commodores with a 25-22 edge with 2:16 remaining before the Gators closed with a 10-2 surge. Robinson's buzzer-beating layup made the margin five as Florida hit seven of its final eight first-half shots.

NOTES: The 29-point effort by Gators sophomore G KeVaughn Allen was his fifth 20-point outing of the season and eighth of his career. ... Vanderbilt junior G Matthew Fisher-Davis was in the starting lineup after being held out of it the previous game against Georgia due to disciplinary reasons. ... Florida made at least one 3-pointer in 850 consecutive games before missing all 17 attempts in Tuesday's loss to South Carolina. ... The Commodores' four-game skid was the school's longest since losing seven straight during the 2014-15 season.

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