Vanderbilt's John Jenkins has earned a reputation as one of the nation's most accurate shooters by hitting well over 40 percent of his 3-pointers as a freshman and sophomore.
That's why the Commodores were so irate late in a 65-61 loss to Florida on Tuesday night when referees made no call on a potential go-ahead 3-pointer that Jenkins airballed with a minute left in overtime.
"He doesn't shoot many air balls," Vandy coach Kevin Stallings told reporters after the game. "I've watched him play for a long time and I haven't seen many air balls come off that kid's hand."
Jenkins came off a top-of-the-key screen with 45 seconds to go in regulation and attempted a contested 3-pointer that would have turned a two-point Vanderbilt deficit into a one-point lead. Replays showed that Florida's Kenny Boynton didn't make contact with Jenkins arms but gave the shooter enough of a shove with his left arm to knock him off balance.
"I think I got him, but I think on the other end they missed some fouls, too," Boynton told reporters after the game. "If they called it, they called it. I think I jumped too high and he kind of tried to draw it. It was a foul, but they missed it."
The no-call was a crucial moment in a tight game, but by no means did Vanderbilt not have other chances to win.
Blame a lack of production from Jeffery Taylor (7 pts, 2 of 12 shooting) and a 42-29 rebounding deficit for the Commodores sinking to 3-4 in SEC play. And credit the clutch shooting of Boynton and the reemergence of Chandler Parsons for the Gators recent uptick since the start of conference play.
First-place Florida is the anti-Kentucky right now, amassing a 6-2 conference record because of its poise late in close games. This was the Gators' third overtime victory in SEC play alone after previous ones at Georgia and at Tennessee.
Florida hosts Kentucky on Saturday in a game that could either tighten the SEC East race or establish Florida as a clear favorite. If it comes down to a tight game in the final two minutes, history suggests it's the Gators who will emerge with a victory.