Scores

Final

Vanderbilt 69

(21-9, 8-8 SEC)

Florida 91

(20-9, 9-7 SEC)

    3:15 PM ET, March 13, 2004

    Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia

    1 2 T
    VAN 38 3169
    FLA 40 5191

    Roberson scores career-high 35 to lead Florida

    ATLANTA (AP) -- Led by Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh, Florida again had the look of a No. 1 team.

    Now, the Gators have a chance to win their first Southeastern Conference tournament championship.

    Roberson scored a career-high 35 points and Walsh, ignoring the usual heckling that accompanies his every move, added 20 to lead Florida past Vanderbilt 91-69 in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

    Walsh bounced back from a miserable game -- he was 1-of-15 shooting in a quarterfinal victory over Alabama -- to help send the Gators (20-9) into Sunday's final against No. 4 Kentucky.

    Vanderbilt (21-9) has probably done enough to earn an NCAA bid, especially after knocking off regular-season champion Mississippi State on Friday night.

    But the Commodores were blown out by Florida in the second half, overwhelmed by a team that was ranked No. 1 in December but has endured an up-and-down season.

    Maybe the Gators are peaking at the right time. They made 17-of-24 shots in the second half and finished at 63 percent (32-of-51) overall. They turned a game that was tight at halftime -- Florida led 40-38 -- into a laugher over the final 20 minutes.

    Roberson and Lee Humphrey hit back-to-back 3s to push the Gators ahead 70-60 with just under nine minutes remaining.

    Vanderbilt missed nine straight shots, going more than six minutes between field goals. By the time Scott Hundley broke the drought with four minutes left, Florida was cruising.

    Roberson had a lot to do with it. The sophomore guard easily eclipsed his previous career best of 28 points with the highest-scoring game by a Florida player this season. He was hitting from everywhere -- 7-of-8 on 3-pointers, 12-of-15 in all.

    Playing in its fourth SEC tournament final, Florida will be going for its first championship. The Gators are one of only two schools in the league that have never won the tourney; the other is South Carolina, which only entered the league in 1992.

    Then there's Kentucky, which has won the tournament 24 times.

    Walsh is probably looking forward to a chance to get back at the Bluegrass Nation.

    The Georgia Dome will be dominated by Wildcat fans on Sunday, a sort of Rupp Arena South. The last time Walsh played in the actual Rupp, he was heckled so viciously that Kentucky sent a letter of apology to Florida.

    Of course, Walsh gets that sort of treatment everywhere he goes in the SEC -- a convenient target with his long, curly hair and headband.

    Vandy fans taunted Walsh just about every time he touched the ball, but he wasn't paying attention. The sophomore made 8-of-11 from the field, including four shot beyond the arc. He also had six rebounds, two assists and a block.

    Mario Moore scored 16 points to lead Vanderbilt, which shot only 37 percent.

    The first half gave little indication of the rout that was to come. Florida grabbed an early 19-13 lead, but the final minutes were more indicative of how things went.

    Walsh hit a 3-pointer to put the Gators up 35-31. Dawib Przybyszewski answered with a dunk and a 3, sending the Commodores back ahead. Walsh sank another trey to push Florida to the lead, then Hundley got loose under the basket for a lay-in to tie the score at 38.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    2003-04 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    Jan 17, 2004 @VAN 86, FLA 72Recap
    Feb 7, 2004 @FLA 81, VAN 71Recap
    » Mar 13, 2004 @FLA 91, VAN 69Recap