Vanderbilt chomped by Gators in OT 65-61
By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Kenny Boynton made his huge 3-pointer in overtime. John Jenkins missed his at the other end.
That was the difference in a physical, back-and-forth game between No. 24 Vanderbilt and Florida.
Boynton scored 15 points, the last of them coming on the clutch 3, and the Gators beat the 24th-ranked Commodores 65-61 in overtime Tuesday night.
Boynton's big shot came from the corner with 1:04 remaining, and with the shot clock winding down and a defender's hand in his face. It put Florida ahead 63-61.
Jenkins, the Southeastern Conference's leading scorer, got a decent look on the other end. But he shot an air ball with Boynton guarding him.
"He doesn't shoot many air balls," Vandy coach Kevin Stallings said. "I've watched him play for a long time and I haven't seen many air balls come off that kid's hand."
Stallings hinted that Jenkins was fouled on the play. Jenkins led Vandy with 22 points, but went just 2 of 6 from 3-point range.
"I'm pretty sure there was a reason there was an air ball," Stallings said. "I'm not saying our guys shot an air ball. I think there might have been a reason."
Boynton acknowledged he committed a foul after the game.
"I think I got him, but I think on the other end they missed some fouls, too," Boynton said. "If they called it, they called it. I think I jumped too high and he kind of tried to draw it. It was a foul, but they missed it."
Chandler Parsons added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Gators (17-5, 6-2), who improved to 5-0 following losses this season.
Parsons missed a jumper with 16 seconds remaining in overtime, but got the rebound and made two free throws with 15.6 seconds remaining to seal Florida's ninth win in its last 11 games.
Parsons may have shocked the home crowd, especially considering four of Florida's five losses can be attributed to missed free throws.
"That's for all you guys that have been hating on me all year long, saying I can't shoot free throws," Parsons said. "Like I told all you guys from the beginning, it's between my ears. I just need to be a man and go up there and put the ball in the hole. Individually and collectively as a team we need to concentrate more on free throws."
The Gators finished 15 of 26 from the line against Vanderbilt (15-6, 3-4), which lost consecutive games for the first time this season.
Stallings' team got there eight less times than Florida and he quietly questioned the difference.
"We must have acquired a different way of playing," said Stallings, who was called for a technical in the second half after complaining about a no-call. "I think we're the No. 1 foul-shooting team in terms of attempts of any BCS school in college basketball and we had a heck of a time trying to get there tonight."
Brad Tinsley added 15 points for Vanderbilt, which faded down the stretch without three big men. Festus Ezeli fouled out with 3:50 remaining in regulation. Steve Tchiengang and Jeffrey Taylor joined him on the bench in the opening minutes of overtime.
Without them in the middle, Parsons drove toward the lane and hit a jumper that put Florida ahead 60-59. Lance Goulbourne answered on the other end with a driving, left-handed layup. Boynton followed with his huge 3, and the Commodores couldn't answer.
Erving Walker chipped in 15 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Gators.
Florida had chances in regulation, but Vernon Macklin missed two free throws with 2:31 remaining, Walker missed an open 3-pointer with 1:26 to go and Alex Tyus came up short on a dunk with 29 seconds left.
Jenkins, who has missed just one free throw in seven SEC games, hit two with 24.1 seconds remaining to tie it at 54. The Gators had plenty of time to do anything they wanted, but Walker settled for a 3-pointer in the final seconds. It came up short, and the game went to overtime.
Florida used a 7-0 run early in the second half to build its biggest lead of the game. Walked hit a driving layup, and Boynton followed with a 3-pointer and two free throws. The free throws, which came on Stallings' technical foul, put the Gators ahead 43-35.
But the Commodores battled back.
Jenkins hit a wide-open 3 after Boynton missed on the other end. Tchiengang made two free throws, Jenkins made a reverse layup and then Taylor made a free throw. That spurt cut Florida's lead to 44-43.
The Gators went ahead 53-45 with 4:53 remaining. But Taylor's 3 got Vandy close again.
"Given Vanderbilt credit. We had an eight-point lead twice and they came storming back," Florida coach Billy Donovan said.
Updated February 1, 2011