Walker’s layup propels No. 17 Gators over Vols

By Adam Silverstein
February 13, 2011

Down six at halftime, the No. 17/19 Florida Gators (20-5, 9-2 SEC) rallied late in the second half and utilized a go-ahead layup from junior point guard Erving Walker with 14 seconds remaining to defeat the Tennessee Volunteers (15-10, 5-5 SEC) 61-60 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on Saturday. With the victory, Florida swept Tennessee in the season series for the first time since 2002 and achieved their 12th victory in their last 14 games.

Walker led the Gators with a team-high 16 points, most of it coming from the charity stripe; he made nine of 10 free throws, the same number attempted by the entire Volunteers team over the course of the game.

Injuring his hip early in the first half, Florida senior forward Chandler Parsons had trouble finding his groove the entire evening. UF appeared to lack athleticism with him being limited, a factor that allowed UT to use a 15-4 run to propel themselves to a 28-21 lead with 5:54 remaining in the first half. The Gators fought back to end the half down six after Vols guard Scotty Hopson made a three-pointer with 14 seconds remaining.

Down 45-38, Florida used a 10-2 run to retake the lead 49-47 with 7:40 remaining in the game. Walker hit a three-pointer, and Parsons added his first field goal (also a trey) with 9:43 left in the second half. Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin followed with a hook shot; he stole the ball on the next possession and dunked it to score four-straight points before Walker added a free throw to cap the run.

The Gators didn’t hold the advantage for long, allowing the Volunteers to complete a 6-0 run to retake the lead 53-49 with 6:10 to go. Florida responded in kind, using a 10-3 run to go up 59-56 with 2:16 remaining.

From there, a jumper by C Brian Williams and a layup by G Cameron Tatum once again gave Tennessee the lead, 60-59, with 47 seconds left. Senior F Alex Tyus was sent to the line for two shots but failed to connect on either attempt.

After Tatum missed the front end of a one-and-one with 26 seconds left on the clock, Walker took matters into his own hands. He drove the lane and hit the Gators’ go-ahead layup with 14 seconds remaining.

UT G Melvin Goins missed a three-pointer with two seconds on the clock, which allowed UF to escape with a one-point victory and the season sweep.

Though Walker’s heroics stole the show, he was supported by Macklin and sophomore G Kenny Boynton, each of whom scored 12 points. Tyus added a double-double (his second of the season) with 10 points and 11 boards.

Hopson led Tennessee with a game-high 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting; he was perfect from downtown (3-for-3) and added five rebounds and four assists. However, Hopson also turned the ball over a game-high six times and was shaky from the free throw line.

With the victory, Florida has won 15 of their last 18 games with 11 wins agianst RPI top 100 teams. The Gators improved to 12-3 at home this season (5-1 in SEC play) and are now 17-1 when holding opponents under 70 points.

UF has eight days to recover before travelling to LSU on Sunday, Feb. 20. The game will air live on ESPN at 1 p.m.

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

13 Comments

  1. Mr2Bits says:

    Huge win. Adam, any reason why Billy D refused to pull Parsons after his injury? It was clear he was not getting into anything offensively and was getting schooled on the defense side.. Was really starting to get to me seeing him hobble around when tons of fresh bodies were on the bench waiting to take over.

    • Ask yourself: Would you rather have a hobbled Parsons still facilitating and taking care of the ball or someone less responsible/experienced? Billy went with the known quantity, IMO. If he put Boynton in, they would have been too small. Defense was a liability, but he couldn’t sub every possession.

      • SC_Gator says:

        Pretty much my thought as well. Billy knew with Parsons in that he wasn’t going to screw up and cost them, even if he couldn’t help them either. Also, Parsons is the engine that drives the team. How beneficial was it for the other’s motivation and drive to have him in and fighting with them?

  2. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Big win! Thank the lord that Scottie stepped up and shut down Hopson in the 2nd half, because Chandler (with his injury) and Kenny couldn’t stop him in the 1st. Scottie is one of the main reasons why we won this game.

  3. Wingtee says:

    We stole one yesterday boys. Wow !! Your not the prettiest team I have see. But you can damn sure grind with anybody

  4. Razzlegator says:

    What’s the caption that should go with that picture, Adam? Great win btw. Any time we beat sweaty Bruce that’s a good thing.

  5. Zooker says:

    I’d like to see this team get just a little grittier on defense, Tyus get tougher in the paint on defense and protect the rim, no inside buckets plus the foul, if we are going to foul when someone is in the lane for a lay-up, make sure that he feels it and he better not be able to get the shot off… Nothing like watching Florida allow guys to put back gimmies plus with a touch foul… Drives me crazy everytime

  6. jay d says:

    Glad to see the gators finnally turn the corner on the vols & handle buisness. I still say tyus is garbage…the only slight improvement I saw from him … was he actually passed the ball around more instead of throwing up half a$$ 10 foot jumpers…keep fighting Gators!!

    • Tractorr says:

      I swear I don’t understand Tyus at all. Dude is such a head case. There was a point in time when he was clearly a much better player. I think he started thinking about the NBA and lost his focus. Trouble for him is it doesn’t look like there is NBA career in his future.

    • Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

      I think calling him garbage is out of line…I am perplexed at how he has regressed…it’s crazy that he played the front end of his career out of position because we needed him to but not that we have two solid bigs to play the 5 he actually looks worse…I can’t explain it…he used to have a really good 10-15′ jump shot that was probably the most automatic on the team….but with all the new pieces and new line-ups Billy has been tinkering with he has struggled to find his place…would he be better suited if he had another 20-30 pounds…sure but I am sure he has tried to put on weight some guys just can’t!!!

  7. GatorCooken says:

    Adam, with that picture you have up of Billy D and Walker….I smell a caption contest….

  8. Razzlegator says:

    Actually I should have asked what the circumstances were surrounding the pic. Was Billy talking to a ref complaining about a foul call, or another player telling him to pay attention to Erv? Something like that.
    Since you asked, here goes. “Look at that face. Is that the face of a boy that would do something like that? NO IT”S NOT! Now leave him alone”.

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