Gordon's free throws puts dagger in Gators

Saturday, February 16, 2008 at 2:50pm

Being from Pensacola, Fla., nothing made Alex Gordon happier Saturday than finishing off the Florida Gators.

The Vanderbilt senior guard made four straight free throws in the final 24 seconds to lead the 24th-ranked Commodores to a 61-58 victory at Memorial Gym.

His first two gave VU a 59-58 lead with 24 seconds left. He then sank two more with 13.8 seconds to go to make it 61-58.

Three-point attempts by Florida's Nick Calathes and Dan Werner in the final six seconds missed the mark, allowing Vanderbilt to escape with its fifth straight win and second straight over the Gators at Memorial Gym.

"I just smiled and knew I was going to make them," Gordon said. "My teammates just told me to go to the line and win the game. It's a good feeling."

VU improved to 22-4 overall and 7-4 in Southeastern Conference play. Florida fell to 19-7 and 6-5.

Shan Foster led the Commodores with 19 points, while Gordon and A.J. Ogilvy each scored 12. Calathes and Marreese Speights each scored 11 points to lead Florida.

With the Gators trailing 59-58, Calathes was called for an over-and-back violation with 13.8 seconds remaining.

The mistake was costly after Florida had rallied from a 12-point deficit with 7:14 left.

"That was a bad break for them and a lucky break for us," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said.

Neither team found a groove offensively. VU shot 37.9 percent from the field and made only eight of 27 3-pointers. The Gators shot 39 percent and made just one of 15 from long range.

Florida, however, hung tough by turning in one of its best defensive efforts of the season.

"Coming into a place like this, shooting those percentages would usually result in a blowout," Gators coach Billy Donovan.

Added Stallings: "They had us stymied, but we made enough plays."

Beginning at the 15:21 mark of the second half and ending at 7:14, the Commodores made six 3-pointers, igniting the sellout crowd of 14,325 and handing Vanderbilt a 52-40 lead.

VU, however, did not score another basket. Meanwhile, Florida used a 16-3 run, capped by a basket by Werner, to take a 56-55 lead with 1:26 remaining.

But the Gators did not score again, and Gordon and Ogilvy combined to make six straight free throws in the final 1:08 to boost Vanderbilt.

GOLD NUGGETS: Saturday's win was the 1,400th in Vanderbilt history, making it one of 48 schools nationally to achieve that mark. ...VU is 16-0 at Memorial Gym this season and has won 29 of its past 30 games at home. ...Foster now has 1,812 career points, 70 away from overtaking former Commodore Matt Freije for the No. 1 spot in the Vanderbilt record books. ...Ogilvy now has 448 points this season, the second most ever by a Vanderbilt freshman.

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By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Not pretty, but a "W"! WTG VANDY!