Gators rout No. 19/17 Volunteers 75-62 in O’Dome

By Adam Silverstein
February 23, 2010

A 27-6 run including three consecutive treys by slumping sophomore point guard Erving Walker led the Florida Gators (20-8, 9-4 SEC) to a 75-62 rout of the No. 19/17 Tennessee Volunteers (20-7, 8-5 SEC) Tuesday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. The Gators, who earned their 12th-straight 20-win season with the victory, snapped a six-game losing streak against the Volunteers by taking their first win in the series since Feb. 3, 2007.

Walker, who was mired in a 5-for-26 (1-for-11 from downtown) slump over the last three games, shot 50 percent on the evening and scored a trifecta of three-pointers in under two minutes in the second half. He and junior forward Chandler Parsons each finished with a team-high 19 points, though Parsons added eight rebounds. Redshirt junior transfer center Vernon Macklin achieved a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 10 boards, while freshman guard Kenny Boynton added 12 points on 4-for-9 shooting.

“We just moved another step closer to where we want to get to,” Walker said. “Definitely a big resume win. They were a ranked team, good RPI, a good team, big conference win, take sole possession of third. We can’t ask for a bigger win right now than this one.”

Read the rest of OGGOA’s Gators vs. Volunteers game story after the jump!

Down 0-2, Florida rattled off an 11-2 run to start the game with a bang. Tennessee would quickly counter with its own 13-2 run to take a 17-13 advantage. After tying it at 17, the Gators allowed the Volunteers to complete a 10-2 run and lead for the remainder of the half until a slam dunk by Tyus tied the game at 37 as the teams left the court.

Florida held Tennessee to just one basket over the final 5:20 of the half. Vols senior center and star player Wayne Chism acquired two fouls within the first four minutes of the game and sat out for almost eight minutes. Though the score was tied, UT out-shot the Gators from downtown, nailing 6-of-15 threes compared to UF’s 1-for-9.

Coming out of the locker room, Florida concentrated on defending the three while limiting mistakes. The Gators went up 41-39 on two free throws by junior F Alex Tyus early after the break, their first lead since 13-12 at 14:18 in the first half. Chism, who injured his back by flipping over that of Macklin, quickly piled up two more fouls and was taken out with four at 16:01. He would reenter at 7:31 but heavily limped off the court on his fifth with 4:02 remaining in the game.

Taking their final lead on a jumper by Macklin at 14:23, Florida used a 9-0 run to propel themselves to an eight-point lead (52-44) at 11:05. After some play back-and-forth play, Walker’s three treys supported by a downtown clincher from Parsons put the Gators up a game-high 20 points with 3:09 left.

Florida once again out-rebounded an opponent in victory (34-25) as Tennessee kept putting themselves in a hole by out-fouling the Gators 21-10.

G Scotty Hopson led the Vols with 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting, while Cameron Tatum and Bobby Maze contributed 13 and 11 points, respectively, in the effort.

Tuesday’s dominant win by the Gators may very well be the team’s most important since the 2007 National Championship game. University of Connecticut athletic director Jeff Hathaway, who is also heading up the 2010 NCAA Selection Committee, was at the game along with Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive. Some believe Florida’s win may have propelled them into the 2010 NCAA Tournament, though another win in their final three games would do no harm.

“The more games you win, the better chance you have [to make the NCAA tournament],” head coach Billy Donovan said. “I don’t think there’s any statements that you make in a particular win. It was a great game and our guys did a great job, but we only get one win.”

The Gators receive a rare three-day break before gearing up for their easiest remaining opponent, the Georgia Bulldogs, on Sat., Feb. 27 at 4 p.m. The game will air live on SEC Network affiliate stations.

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

4 Comments

  1. 305gator says:

    Great win for the team! Go Gators!

  2. ReptilesRule says:

    Wow, finally beat Daddy Pearl!! Would love to see them carry some momentum into the tournament. If they can possibly win 2 out of the next three, that would do it. None of them will be easy so they have a chance to build some confidence and maybe a little better seeding. Once you get in the tourney, who knows?? I still remember how that Butler game propelled the 2000 team.

  3. npgator says:

    We should win 2 out of the next 3 since Vandy is at home.

  4. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    Parsons game just keeps improving….he is starting to remind me of Skinny a bit….I do think Billy needs to consider taking the green light from Boyton on the 3’s….he did have a couple go in and out last night but his outside shooting is hurting us and although Werner is playing better as of late he doesn’t need to be shooting outside as he has no confidence at all

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