by Barca Blog
Recap: Vanderbilt 95, Florida 87
The Point Man
Andre Walker almost produced the first triple-double in Commodore history with eight points, 10 rebounds and seven assists (along with three steals) in Vanderbilt's 95-87 win over Florida Saturday.
Head coach Kevin Stallings decided to use the 6'7 forward as a primary ball handler and point guard for the majority of the game to break the Gators' full-court press and zone defense. Stallings admitted to Joe Fisher on the postgame show that he came up with the idea while taking a shower earlier in the week.
"It just kind of popped into my mind that this is what we needed to do against their zone," Stallings said about the game strategy. "It's not something that had been a part of our system all year long."
The plan worked.
Florida usually does a good job of keeping opponents out of rhythm with their press and zone. Earlier this season, the Gators created 23 turnovers in victories over Michigan State and Florida State.
That wasn't the case this time as Vanderbilt committed its fewest turnovers (7) since committing just six against Furman on Dec. 12, 2008.
"I thought Andre Walker was the man," Beal said. "Every time I got trapped I just passed him the ball and everything was okay."
Once the press was broken, Walker didn't stop there. He helped with orchestrating the half-court offense, often finding holes in UF's zone to create easy scores for teammates.
"I just tried to put pressure on their defense and make them come guard me to get other people the open shot," Walker said. "I love passing the ball and seeing other people get dunks. I like A.J. getting highlights and Beal knocking down three's, so it was nice."
Stallings knew Walker would be the X-factor in the Commodores' SEC opener.
And Walker was on point with his performance.
"I told Andre all week, 'This is a big game for you. You're really going to impact this game if you're ready to play,'" Stallings added. "And he usually is ready to play and he was today. I thought he really played well."
Ogilvy had a game-high 24 points, his second highest scoring output of the season and sixth straight game in double figures. He also contributed eight rebounds, two blocks, two assists, and a steal while going 10-for-12 at the line.
The junior center has been hampered by a foot injury since last season.
"I feel like I'm finally getting back to full health," Ogilvy said. "My foot's feeling great. I was able to actually play the way I need to play for this team to be successful. The guy's did a good job of getting me the ball in positions that allowed me to score."
And the crowd goes wild
The near-capacity crowd in Memorial Gym became a little unsettled with the officiating during the second half. The Commodores and Gators were whistled for 29 combined fouls in the final 20 minutes, compared to 14 in the first half.
"That's just SEC play," Beal explained. "I've been here for awhile. The refs can call it tight, and they can call it loose. Our fans were just having fun with them, that's all."
Vernon Macklin and Erik Murphy for Florida were the only players to foul out.
Not only did the Commodores do a great job of handling the ball against the Gators' press, they also kept their composure at the foul line, especially in the closing minutes of the game.
Vandy converted on 17-of-19 free throws in the second half, and 12-of-13 in the last six minutes to seal the victory.
"I think Jeff said it was Golden State versus the Phoenix Suns out there. Just get it and go, run-and-gun." -- Beal on the pace of the game in the first half.