Florida’s up­set bid falls short against No. 3 Ten­nessee

The Bradenton Herald (Sunday) - - Sports - BY MARK LONG


Grant Wil­liams scored 20 points, Jor­dan Bow­den added 17 off the bench and No. 3 Ten­nessee ral­lied to beat Florida 78-67 on Satur­day for their 10th con­sec­u­tive vic­tory.

Admiral Schofield, who sat out much of the sec­ond half with four fouls, pro­vided the big­gest bucket with a 3-pointer from the cor­ner with 41.3 sec­onds re­main­ing. Jalen Hud­son mis­fired on the other end, and the Ga­tors were forced to foul in the wan­ing sec­onds. Schofield’s shot came af­ter Wil­liams ap­peared to get away with a travel in the lane.

Ten­nessee play­ers mock­ingly per­formed the “Ga­tor chomp” to fans af­ter the fi­nal buzzer.

The Vol­un­teers (14-1, 3-0 South­east­ern Con­fer­ence) have their first dou­ble-digit win­ning streak since 2008.

Wil­liams, Bow­den and Schofield did much of the heavy lift­ing in the lat­est one.

Wil­liams made 8 of 11 shots to go along with nine re­bounds and four as­sists. Bow­den ac­counted for 14 con­sec­u­tive points in the sec­ond half – with Schofield on the bench – and then Schofield de­liv­ered the knock­out blow. Schofield fin­ished with 14 points.

KeVaughn Allen led the Ga­tors (9-6, 1-2) with 18 points.

Florida led 38-35 at the half thanks to nine 3-point­ers. But coach Mike

White’s team made just three from be­hind the arc in the sec­ond half.

Still, the Ga­tors had chances to pull off an up­set. They twice al­lowed Wil­liams to make bas­kets af­ter two of­fen­sive re­bounds in the sec­ond half and missed two treys in the fi­nal 1:14, in­clud­ing one off a turnover.


Ten­nessee: The Vol­un­teers have won five straight in true road games, a sign of their tal­ent and depth. Florida: The Ga­tors went toe-to-toe with a top-five team, but just don’t have the fire power to score 80 to beat many elite teams.


Florida foot­ball coach Dan Mullen ad­dressed the sell­out crowd be­fore the game, cred­it­ing his team for a 10-win sea­son that in­cluded a win against Michi­gan in the Peach Bowl.

“The Ga­tor stan­dard is to not be in sec­ond in the

SEC, the Ga­tor stan­dard is about be­ing first in the SEC,” Mullen said. “The chal­lenge for all of us, the chal­lenge for the play­ers, for coaches and every­body in Ga­tor Na­tion, what we did last year was good enough for 10 wins and No. 6.

“This year we’re go­ing to ask you for a whole ’nother level. I chal­lenge you to bring back that Ga­tor stan­dard not to be No. 2, but to be at a cham­pi­onship level.”


For­mer Florida guard Wal­ter Hodge, a two-time na­tional cham­pion, was in at­ten­dance. Hodge cur­rently plays for Homenet­men Beirut in a pro­fes­sional league in Le­banon.


Ten­nessee be­gins a twogame home­s­tand against Arkansas on Tues­day.

Florida plays at No. 14 Mis­sis­sippi State on Wed­nes­day.

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