Calling Coach Shyatt!

When Larry Shyatt joined the Gator coaching staff he immediately helped Billy Donovan sell an emphasis on defense and the results speak for themselves. Well it's time for Coach Shy and the Gator Head Man to team up and get this team's attention about work on that end of the floor.

After allowing the Arkansas Razorbacks to score 80 last weekend, the Gators saw Tennessee score 60 second half points on the way to a 104-82 Vols' win.

Losing in Knoxville is no disgrace. Tennessee is one of the best teams in the nation and the Gators are a bunch of kids trying to figure out how to play at this level. But after outplaying the Vols for 20 minutes and battling them on relatively even terms for most of the night, the Gators got abused in the last nine minutes of the contest. Florida trailed 71-68 with 9:18 to play, but were outscored 33-11 down the stretch. That simply cannot happen.

Where Did The Bench Go?

One of the things that helped the Gators get to an 18-3 record this season was the consistent production off the bench. There was a time when the Gators were getting 30 or more points off the bench on a regular basis, but that sure didn't happen Tuesday night in Knoxville. Florida's reserves combined to score a grand total of nine points in the contest and were a big part of the inability of the Gators to keep pace with the more rested Vols in the final few minutes. Alex Tyus scored six and Chandler Parsons managed to make three free throws while Adam Allen and Jonathan Mitchell added nothing to the point total.

Nick Calathes ended up playing 38 minutes in this one and darn near had a triple-double with 15 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, but he had some crucial turnovers in the second half. In fact, turnovers were a huge factor in this one as Florida committed 20 compared to just nine for the Vols. Tennessee owned the battle of the boards 38-31, so combining the stats the Vols got 18 more opportunities.

Florida is now 18-5 on the year and 5-3 in the SEC. That's not bad, but the Gators have little margin for errors looking ahead. Saturday's contest with Georgia in the O'Dome Saturday is now about as big as a regular season game can be.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

Fightin Gators Top Stories