Florida vs. Tennessee score, takeaways: Gators get blasted by No. 1 Vols

By Adam Silverstein
February 9, 2019
Florida vs. Tennessee score, takeaways: Gators get blasted by No. 1 Vols
Basketball

Image Credit: UAA Communications

Though the Florida Gators made it look like a game at times, it was apparent throughout Saturday’s contest that the No. 1 Tennessee Volunteers would prevail, which they did decisively 73-61 in Knoxville, Tennessee. In doing so, the Vols (22-1, 10-0 SEC) remain atop the college basketball world, while the Gators (12-11, 4-6 SEC) continue to erase the benefit of the doubt that many analysts across the country have given them due to their difficult schedule.

Let’s take a look at what went down in Florida’s third-straight loss.


It was over when … Tennessee responded to a scoring spurt by Florida, taking advantage of four turnovers with a 9-0 run to regain a 16-point lead with 7:45 to play. At the time, that matched the Vols’ high mark of the game, though they would extend their advantage to as many as 19 points before all was said and done.

The Gators took an early lead in the game but quickly succumbed to the hosts as a 17-3 scoring stretch helped UT build a 16-point advantage in the first half. Florida ended the opening 20 minutes with a 14-4 run to cut its deficit down to six at halftime and trailed by as few as four points early in the second half until Tennessee decided to take over, stifling the visitors’ offense with its size and scoring on demand.

Exceptional efforts: Freshman guard Noah Locke was consistently good, scoring a game-high 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from downtown, but he never got hot for a long enough stretch to really affect the Vols. Also stepping up for the Gators was redshirt senior G Jalen Hudson, but while he did score 15 points in 24 minutes, he missed all five of his attempts from beyond the arc.

Odds and ends: Senior G KeVaughn Allen was hot to end the first half but only attmpted three shots in the latter 20 minutes; he was limited with four fouls … Florida shot below 40 percent from the field for the 12th time in 23 games this season (.356) … the teams shot an identical 11-of-16 from the charity stripe … the Gators actually won the rebounding battle (33-31, 15-8 offensive), but the Vols dominated paint scoring (36-22) … Locke and Allen were the only UF players to make threes; the rest of the team went 0 for 13 … Florida falls to 17-47 when playing at Tennessee and 1-3 overall against its rival under Mike White … the Gators are 0-6 vs. ranked opponents and 1-9 in Quadrant 1 games this season … UF is 10-20 vs. AP Top 25 teams and 2-6 vs. top 10 teams under White … Florida is 2-16 all-time against No. 1-ranked opponents with no wins during regular season play (0-16)

What it means: The Gators have dropped three straight games — granted, all to tough competition — and four of their last five during a critical stretch with the postseason approaching. As they only have one Quadrant 1 victory in nine chances, they are no longer on the “bubble” of the NCAA Tournament despite many giving them credit for having played one of the most difficult schedules in the country. Three of Florida’s remaining eight games are against ranked teams, two of which will be played on the road. The Gators are not out of NCAA Tournament contention yet, but they need to start winning now.

Up next: Florida will host Vanderbilt on Wednesday at 9 p.m. before again playing consecutive games on the road. The Gators have only had back-to-back home games once since the calendar turned to 2019 and will not again until March.

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