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Gators fall to Vanderbilt in SEC tournament

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

The Commodores (19-14) beat the Gators (24-8) for the third time this season and second in seven days. First-year coach Bryce Drew has Vanderbilt in the semifinals for the first time since 2013 with a win that should push his Commodores firmly into the NCAA Tournament for a second straight year.

Florida, which could now be looking at a No. 5 NCAA Tournament seed that might keep it from opening in Orlando, 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 score tied at 58 but missed two shots in the final seconds of regulation. Kasey Hill missed a layup and Kevarrius Hayes had a shot blocked after grabbing the rebound.

"It was a good look," Hill said of his missed layup.

Allen and Hill each scored 16.

The SEC's best 3-point shooters had the advantage from beyond the arc against the second-seeded Gators. The Commodores went 11 of 27 from 3 compared to 6 of 23 by Florida.

In other SEC games, fifth-seeded Alabama made 10 of 12 free throws down the stretch to get past fourth-seeded South Carolina 64-53, and No. 8 Kentucky, the top seed, started both halves quickly and steadily pulled away for a 71-60 win over eighth-seeded Georgia. UK leading scorer Malik Monk scored just two points in 26 minutes.

Stat of the day

Florida coach Mike White dropped to 0-5 in his two seasons against Vanderbilt, the only SEC team the Gators have not beaten in that time. White said he will be racking his brain trying to figure out what could have done differently against Vandy. "We've got to find a way to be more disciplined, and that's on me," he said.

Stay salty, coach

Former Indiana coach Bob Knight said, well, very Bob Knight things on Friday's Dan Patrick Show. When asked if he would ever consider returning to IU's Assembly Hall — he was fired in 2000 and has never gone back — Knight, 76, responded that he will always enjoy the IU fans but has no respect for the administration and "I hope they're all dead." When Patrick said some indeed are, Knight retorted: "I hope the rest of them go."

USF's Thorpe gone

The fallout from one of the worst seasons in USF men's history has begun, with top scorer Geno Thorpe confirming he won't play next season. Thorpe, the only Bull to finish with a double-figure scoring average (15.2), said he is scheduled to graduate in June. "I don't plan on playing another season at USF after my graduation," he said. CBS Sports reported that forward Luis Santos, arguably the Bulls' most improved player, has requested his release and intends to transfer. The mother of redshirt sophomore Troy Holston said her son likely will await the hiring of a new coach before deciding on his future. The departures of Thorpe and Santos leave USF with eight scholarship players.

Duke stuns UNC

Jayson Tatum scored 24 and No. 14 Duke rallied past No. 6 North Carolina with a surge in the second half, taking advantage of foul trouble for Tar Heels point guard Joel Berry for a 93-83 victory in an ACC semifinal in New York. Grayson Allen scored 18 off the bench for the Blue Devils (26-8), who will go for their 20th ACC tournament championship tonight against the winner of the late FSU-Notre Dame game. Fifth-seeded Duke, which outscored top-seeded UNC (27-7) by 15 during a 10-minute span while Berry was on the bench with four fouls, improved to 98-44 in the event overall, breaking a tie with the Tar Heels for the best record in the tournament's 64-year history.

A Villanova scare

During the regular season, Villanova beat Seton Hall by 30 and 22. In a Big East semifinal at Madison Square Garden, Josh Hart made the winning three-point play with 9.6 seconds left, the fifth lead change of the final four minutes, and the No. 2-ranked Wildcats rallied by the Pirates 55-53.

Quotable

"We're starting to do this weird thing where we play well offensively and defensively.''

Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes, after a 70-60 win over Indiana in a Big Ten quarterfinal at Washington, D.C.

Celebrity sighting

Bill Murray attended the Xavier-Creighton Big East semifinal, wearing a Musketeers hat and sitting behind the bench. His son Luke is an Xavier assistant coach.

On their way out

. Washington freshman guard Markelle Fultz declared for the NBA draft, where he is expected to be among the top-five picks.

. LSU fired coach Johnny Jones after the Tigers (10-21, 2-16 SEC) completed their worst season in 50 years.

Number of the day

3 Straight wins by Michigan — which as the No. 8 seed upset No. 1 seed and No. 13-ranked Purdue 74-70 in overtime to reach the Big Ten semi­finals — versus ranked teams for the first time since the 2013 NCAA Tournament (when the Wolverines made the final), per ESPN Stats & Info.

Women

. Bethune-Cookman (21-9) beat Florida A&M (13-19) 59-42 in the MEAC and faces Hampton today for the title in Norfolk, Va.

. Two teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament: Host Albany beat Maine 66-50 to win a record sixth straight America East tournament title, and Boise State beat Fresno State 66-53 to win the Mountain West title in Las Vegas.

Joey Knight, Times staff writer; Times wires

NCAA automatic bids

Men

Bucknell Patriot

East Tennessee StateSouthern

Florida Gulf Coast Atlantic Sun

Gonzaga West Coast

Iona MAAC

Jacksonville StateOhio Valley

Mount St. Mary's Northeast

N.C. Wilmington Colonial

Northern Kentucky Horizon

South Dakota StateSummit

Wichita State MVC

Winthrop Big South

woMen

Albany America East

Belmont Ohio Valley

Boise State Mountain West

Connecticut American

Dayton Atlantic 10

Gonzaga West Coast

Green Bay Horizon

Marquette Big East

Maryland Big Ten

Notre Dame ACC

Quinnipiac MAAC

South Carolina SEC

Stanford Pac-12

Tenn.-Chattanooga Southern

Western Illinois Summit

West Virginia Big 12

Gators fall to Vanderbilt in SEC tournament 03/10/17 [Last modified: Saturday, March 11, 2017 5:59am]
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