Vanderbilt stops Florida
Forget all that talk about the top-ranked Florida Gators rolling through the Southeastern Conference undefeated.
Derrick Byars and Shan Foster each scored 24 points, and Vanderbilt ended the nation’s longest winning streak with an 83-70 upset of the Gators, who finally fell into a hole they couldn’t dig themselves out of Saturday.
“This is one for the ages,” Byars said. “Twenty years from now, I’ll be able to tell my little kids this. This is special. You can’t explain it.”
Florida (24-3 overall, 11-1 SEC) had won 17 consecutive games and needed a victory to clinch at least a share of the SEC’s Eastern Division and the overall conference title. They also had won seven in a row against the Commodores.
But Vanderbilt (18-8, 8-4) has been one of the country’s best against ranked opponents this season. Students poured onto the court at Memorial Gym after the Commodores pulled off their first victory over a top-ranked team since Jan. 13, 1993, when they beat Kentucky, and their sixth victory over a ranked team this season.
“A lot of people don’t ever get the opportunity to play the No. 1 team in the country,” Foster said. “We got the opportunity and seized the moment.”
The Commodores won for the seventh time in nine games by beating the nation’s best shooting team at its own game, outshooting the Gators, 57.1% to 44%.
“We caught them on an afternoon where they missed shots they normally make,” Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings said.
Florida Coach Billy Donovan tried to put the loss into perspective by pointing out that the Gators, the defending national champions, had won 35 of their previous 37 games.
“We just didn’t make our shots,” said Corey Brewer, who scored 13 points. “Sometimes, that just happens. But I don’t want to take anything away from Vanderbilt. They deserved to win.”