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Humphrey, Florida have big second half to top Vandy

Feb 1, 2007 - 5:30 AM GAINESVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- Florida looked nothing like a national championship team in the first half against Vanderbilt. The Gators found themselves after the break.

Lee Humphrey sparked a second-half rally with some sharp shooting and No. 1 Florida reached 20 wins in January for the first time in school history with a 74-64 victory over Vanderbilt in a Southeastern Conference matchup.

Florida (20-2, 7-0 SEC East) tied the school mark for best start in SEC play set in 2003 and recorded its ninth consecutive 20-win campaign after posting five in the previous 77 seasons before Billy Donovan became coach.

The Gators have won their last 13 contests - the fifth-longest streak in school annals - and improved to 14-0 at home this season but it wasn't easy.

Vanderbilt (15-7, 5-3 East) was looking to defeat the nation's No. 1 team for the first time since topping Kentucky on January 13, 1993, and win its fifth straight game overall. The Commodores looked like they were on their way to doing so in the first half, easily handling the Gators' press and racing out to a 41-30 lead at the break.

Florida came out a different team in the second half, going on a 13-0 run to take the lead. With the game tied at 45-45, Humphrey scored nine straight points, all on 3-pointers, to give the Gators a 54-47 lead with 13:05 to play.

Vanderbilt never got closer than four the rest of the way and another Humphrey 3-pointer made it 70-59 with 2:57 to play. Humphrey finished with 15 points and Joakim Noah added 19 for Florida, which has won seven straight meetings with Vanderbilt.

Derrick Byars scored 21 points and was the only player in double figures for the Commodores. Byars scored 14 of his points in the first half when Vanderbilt controlled the action.

The Commodores shot 54 percent (15-of-28) in the first half and led by as many as 12 points. Vanderbilt was just 1-of-8 from the arc in the opening 20 minutes but played solid defense, holding Florida to 29 percent (9-of-31) shooting from the field.

Humphrey helped change Florida's fortunes after the break as the Gators hit 16-of-22 shots (73 percent), while limiting Vandy to 9-of-26 (35 percent).

Al Horford scored 12 points and added 12 rebounds and Taurean Green scored 13 for Florida. Green had nine of his points in the Gators' 13-0 run to open the second half.