Florida advances with 85-74 win over Tennessee

By Adam Silverstein
March 11, 2011

Fast out of the gate but down six at halftime, the No. 12 Florida Gators (25-6) outscored the Tennessee Volunteers (19-14) 56-40 in the second half on their way to a 85-74 victory in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Southeastern Conference Tournament at the Georgia Dome on Friday evening in Atlanta, GA.

Gators sophomore guard Kenny Boynton led the way for his squad with a team-high 22 points. Junior point guard Erving Walker and redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin were dynamite in the second half, adding 17 and 15 points, respectively.

Florida started hot, using an early 12-4 run to go up 21-20. Senior forward Alex Tyus hit his first four shots of the game and the Gators started 9-for-12 from the field.

After taking a 12-point lead, 25-13, Florida allowed Tennessee to take off on a ridiculous 21-4 run to end the half. The Volunteers forced eight turnovers and held the Gators scoreless the final 6:22 of the half, outscoring them 9-0 during that period.

UF started the second half with plenty of aggression, using a 13-4 run including six points from Boynton to take a 49-46 lead. Minutes later, tied at 50, Florida scored seven-straight to jump ahead 57-50 with 10 minutes remaining in the game.

The Gators extended their lead to a game-high 15, 80-65, on two free throws from freshman C Patric Young with 2:25 left.

However, a quick turnover by Young while being pressed in the backcourt led to a three from Volunteers G Scotty Hopson and a 6-1 run that brought Tennessee’s deficit down to nine. In the double bonus for most of the second half, Florida took foul shots the rest of the way to hold on to the victory.

[EXPAND Click to expand the rest of the game story!]Boynton capitalized on some fastbreak opportunities to go 5-for-11 from the field; he also hit all 10 of his free throws and dished a team-high four assists. Walker went 3-for-4 from downtown, and Macklin added four rebounds to his 6-for-10 shooting performance.

Senior F Chandler Parsons proved to be the glue the Gators needed, scoring 12 points while grabbing seven boards, dishing four assists, snatching two steals and blocking a pair of shots. Tyus and Young each added five rebounds with the latter playing top-notch defense in the second half.

Tennessee F Tobias Harris flexed his muscles down low all game, going 10-for-17 for a game-high 25 points. Volunteers C Brian Williams brought down a game-high 12 rebounds, and Hopson finished 6-for-14 from the floor for 19 points.

Early in the first half, Parsons got his 500th career field goal – only the sixth player under head coach Billy Donovan to reach that mark – and Walker hit his 198th career three-pointer, good for fifth all-time in school history.

Florida awaits the outcome of Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State late Friday to determine who they face on Saturday. The game will air live on ABC at 3:30 p.m.[/EXPAND]


  1. Ken (CA) says:

    Great win! I am glad i missed the bad end to the first half, going from work to home. Way to fight back and win it. 82% shooting in the second half is just sick! 8 more games to go!

  2. John S. says:

    Once again I doubted Billy after he failed to take one time out in the first half, and then we come out and shoot 80% in the second half. Beating the vols 3 straight times is a big deal, my hat is off to this team.

    Great job, go Gators

  3. Basshole says:

    Nice win. Sweeping the Vols is so sweet

  4. SC Gator says:

    14 of 17 in the 2nd half is just amazing! Lets keep it up vs Vandy tomorrow.

  5. jay d says:

    Now the gators have to beat a hot shooting vandy team on sat for a 3rd time this year….we. are getting a very unlucky tourney draw.. WTF!! The gators will have to kick and scratch through the rest of the SEC tourney…stay fired up boys…the battle has just begun…

  6. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Great job Gators! Now bring on the Dores!!!!!!!!!

  7. Zooker says:

    I owe some of you guys an apology, I said it was ridiculous when some of our fans say this is a Final Four team, man they TOUGH-Minded group of kids. Very impressive come back win over a really good team.. I remembered watching Tennessee MAN handle Pitt, and Pitt is an elite team

  8. Gatorgrad79 says:

    I would love to win this tourney outright – the kids deserve it, specially the Srs, BUT does that leave us with tired legs for the Dance? Have heard debate that teams that lose in the conference semi’s have an advantage in the NCAA because they have one less game wear & tear, and several more days to recover….? Thoughts, Adam?

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