Vanderbilt upsets No. 17 Florida 72-62 OT win in SEC tourney

Leave a comment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Vanderbilt had every reason to give up in January, losing five of its first seven Southeastern Conference games.

Instead, the Commodores stuck together and listened closely to first-year coach Bryce Drew. And it paid off.

Riley LaChance scored five of his 18 points in overtime, and Vanderbilt topped No. 17 Florida 72-62 Friday night in the SEC tournament quarterfinals.

“The resiliency of these guys has been phenomenal the last three weeks, and it was on display full force tonight,” Drew said.

The Commodores (19-14) beat the Gators for second time in seven days to earn a berth Saturday in the semifinals against Mississippi or Arkansas. It’s the first time in the semifinals for Vanderbilt since 2013.

Perhaps more importantly, the win should push Drew’s Commodores firmly into the NCAA Tournament for a second straight year.

“We just want to keep winning games,” said Drew, who moved to Vanderbilt after a successful run at Valparaiso. “Hopefully the committee realizes how well we’re playing, and we get in.”

Florida (24-8) fought back from an eight-point deficit to force overtime thanks to KeVaughn Allen, who made a tying 3 with 1:42 left. The Gators had the ball with the game tied at 58 but missed two shots in the final seconds of regulation.

“It was a good look,” Gators senior guard Kasey Hill said of his missed layup.

Vanderbilt scored the first seven points of OT, with LaChance’s jumper with 4:02 to go putting the Commodores ahead to stay.

Luke Kornet had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Vanderbilt, and Jeff Roberson finished with 16 points. Matthew Fisher-Davis added 11 points.

The Commodores have won 10 of 13 overall, and Kornet said defense has been the key.

“We’re all confident at every single moment, whether we’re down 10 or up 10 and continuing to just play good defense and try to win the game,” Kornet said.

Allen and Hill each finished with 16 points for Florida. The Gators missed what would have been their first trip to the semifinals since 2014, and coach Mike White said he’ll be racking his brain until the NCAA Tournament bracket is announced trying to figure out what they could have done differently against Vandy.

“I thought it was the best that we defended them this year outside of a handful of mistakes,” White said. “We’ve got to find a way to be more disciplined, and that’s on me.”

The SEC’s best 3-point shooters, fresh off beating Texas A&M for a third time this season, had the advantage from beyond the arc against the second-seeded Gators. The Commodores, who matched a season low with only five made 3s against the Gators last Saturday, went 11 of 27 (40.7 percent) from 3 compared to just 6 of 23 (26.1 percent) by Florida.

The Commodores led 33-28 at halftime and were up by eight a couple times, the last with 3:27 left.

The Gators, who lost the regular-season series by a combined four points, tied it up with eight straight points, with Allen’s 3 helping force overtime.

BIG PICTURE

Vanderbilt: Drew now has beaten White, the SEC coach of the year, three times in his first year with the Commodores. He also has two more wins in the SEC tournament than his predecessor, Kevin Stallings, managed over the past three seasons.

Florida: Other losses over the past few days should keep the Gators a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament along with a chance to open in Orlando. The best thing the Gators can hope for is not to see Vanderbilt anywhere in their bracket once the pairings are announced Sunday. White is 0-5 against Vanderbilt.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Gators dropped five spots after their loss to Vanderbilt to end the regular season and now have lost three of their last four. “We obviously have lost momentum,” White said.

UP NEXT

Vanderbilt: Ole Miss or Arkansas in the semifinals Saturday.

Florida: NCAA Tournament.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.