Gators Edge Vandy
Nashville, Tenn. — Dorian Finney-Smith scored 19 points, and No. 1 Florida held off Vanderbilt 57-54 on Tuesday night to clinch at least a share of its second straight Southeastern Conference title and seventh overall.
Patric Young added 12 points for the Gators (26-2, 15-0 SEC), who continued the best season in school history by winning their 20th straight game, and now they will have a chance to claim their third SEC title in four years all to themselves with a win against LSU on Saturday.
The Commodores (15-12, 7-8) beat Florida 83-70 the last time the Gators came into Memorial Gym ranked No. 1, on Feb. 17, 2007. Coach Kevin Stallings has only seven healthy scholarship players right now, and they proved no match for Florida’s smothering defense.
The Commodores sure made it interesting.
Kyle Fuller missed a tying 3 in the final seconds, and Dai-Jon Parker missed a putback attempt.
No. 6 Duke 66, Va. Tech 48
Durham, n.c. — Rodney Hood scored 21 points to help Duke beat Virginia.
Rasheed Sulaimon added 15 points for the Blue Devils (23-6, 12-4 ACC), who jumped to a 24-4 lead midway through the first half and never trailed — though they struggled to land a game-finishing blow on the Hokies.
Duke didn’t shoot the ball particularly well and its outside shooting was streaky, but it still had relatively little trouble against a Virginia Tech team that has won just once since the start of the calendar year. The last-place Hokies (9-18, 2-13) had a strong start to the second half and got within seven points, but never seriously threatened what would have been an improbable comeback in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Minnesota 95 No. 20 Iowa 89
Minneapolis — Austin Hollins scored a career-high 27 points on 8-for-10 shooting, DeAndre Mathieu had 19 points and seven assists and Minnesota bounced back from a monthlong slump.
Hollins made all seven of his free throws for the Gophers (18-11, 7-9 Big Ten), who won for just the third time in their last nine games by making 13 of their last 14 free throws over the final 70 seconds. Charles Buggs came off the end of the bench to score a career-high 13 points.
No. 1 UConn 81, SMU 48
Dallas — Bria Hartley scored 25 points, Breanna Stewart added 23 and No. 1 Connecticut broke open a close game late in the first half.
The Huskies (29-0, 16-0 American Athletic) won their 35th straight game, halfway to the second-longest winning streak in school history.
UConn’s lead was just 22-17 before the Huskies scored the last 15 points of the first half, a span that covered 4 minutes. Stewart started the decisive run with a 15-foot baseline jumper and had back-to-back layups in transition for a 30-17 lead.
Keena Mays scored 13 points to lead the Mustangs (16-11, 7-9).
Stewart also had five rebounds, five assists and four blocks, while Kiah Stokes had a game-high 12 rebounds.