GAINESVILLE-- The Tennessee Volunteers (14-1 3-0 SEC) outscored the Florida Gators 43-29 in the second half leading to their 78-67 road win on Saturday night. The win by Tennessee is their 10th straight overall & first win at Florida since February 2012.
Both teams hit their first shot of the game, starting with Gators guard Jalen Hudson hitting a layup followed by a three pointer by Vols guard Jordan Bone. The Vols scored the next five points of the game after that three to take an 8-2 lead. But guard Noah Locke gave the Gators their second three of the game to bring the Gators within three, only to have Vols forward Grant Williams to match his three pointer to make the lead 6 again.
Back to back three pointers, one by forward Dontay Bassett the other by guard KeVaugh Allen, sandwiched around a jumper by Vols guard Jordan Bowden, got the Gators within two. But back to back baskets by the Vols made the score 17-11.
Trailing by six, Florida (9-6 1-2 SEC) went on a 12-0 run that included three triples, one which was a four point play by Allen. That run ended when Vols guard Admiral Schofield kept the three point shooting theme going with a three of his own. But a long jumper by Locke gave the Gators another three & a 26-21 lead.
For the following next four minutes, the teams traded baskets & with just over three minutes left in the first half, Florida lead 34-29. And at the end of the first 20 minutes, Florida on the strength of 9 three pointers, led 38-35.
Leading by three to start the second half, Florida took a six point lead on a three pointer by Allen, who hit his first shot in the final twenty minutes. But Tennessee got two free throws from Williams, who led all players with 20 points, for their first points of the second half. And those two points were the first of eight unanswered points which led to the Vols taking a 43-41 lead.
Florida ended that run on free throws by forward Keith Stone to tie the score at 43. And after an exchange of points to keep the score tied, Tennessee got a three pointer by Bone & a dunk by Williams to take a five point lead. The Vols lead was five with just under 11 minutes left in the game. But a dunk plus the foul & old-fashioned three pointer by center Kevarrius Hayes got the Gators within two. And two more free throws by Hayes plus another Allen three pointer capped an 8-0 run.
That run gave the Gators a three point lead but the run ended when Bowden was fouled shooting a three pointer & hit all three free throws to tie the score at 56.
The two teams exchanged big shots & baskets including three pointers by each team, until Bowden turned a steal into a dunk then assisted on a layup by Williams. And the lead remained at four until less than 90 seconds were left in the game. That's when the Gators, after two free throws by Locke, were within two but a three pointer by Schofield from the right corner made it a five point game. And the Vols sealed the win on a steal & dunk by Bone.
Florida, will look to rebound from this conference loss when they hit the road on Tuesday to take on the 14th ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs.