Gators dump Vols, 84-73

Tennessee's failure to hit the basket AND the backboards in the final eight minutes enabled Florida to come from behind and beat the Vols 84-73 Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

A Major Wingate three-point play gave Tennessee a 65-64 lead with 7:42 to go. But the Gators outscored the Vols 20-8 down the stretch to win going away.

Florida, now 15-6 overall and 7-3 in SEC play, outrebounded Tennessee 39-28. Moreover, the Gators speared 16 offensive rebounds, turning many of these into second-chance points. Florida also cashed in at the foul line, hitting 23 of 32 free throws. The Vols, now 11-13 overall and 4-7 in SEC play, hit 50 percent from the field (28 of 56) but made just 8 of their final 22 tries.

Six-foot-10 Brandon Crump, back from an ankle injury that sidelined him for four games and limited him in Wednesday's loss to Alabama, had a brilliant first half for Tennessee -- hitting 5 of 5 field goal tries and 2 of 2 free throw attempts for 12 points. He scored just four second-half points, however, to finish with 16. C.J. Watson added 15 points, Scooter McFadgon 10 and Major Wingate 9.

David Lee had a double-double for Florida, scoring 21 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. Matthew Walsh produced 23 points and Anthony Roberson 16.

Tennessee started well, using a 9-0 run to build a 22-17 lead midway through the first half. The Gators outscored the Vols 22-11 over the next nine minutes, however, to go ahead 39-33. Florida's lead was 41-36 at halftime.

Corey Brewer, a 6-8 freshman from Portland, Tenn., hit a 15-footer to open the second half, giving Florida a 43-36 lead. Tennessee roared back, however, on two McFadgon free throws, a Chris Lofton 3, a steal and drive by McFadgon, an Andre Patterson putback and a Watson 3-pointer to go ahead 48-47 with 17:02 to play.

An Anthony Roberson drive gave Florida the lead for good at 66-65. Lee hit a couple of free throws, then Walsh added a 3-pointer. Lee scored on a follow dunk and four free throws as the Gators went up 77-71 with 3:13 to go.

Three offensive rebounds by Florida preceded a pair of Walsh free throws that widened the gap to 79-71 with 1:21 to go and basically put the game out of reach. The Gators hit enough free throws in the final minute to keep the Vols at bay.

Tennessee is off this Wednesday. The Vols return to action Saturday, Feb. 19, visiting Ole Miss.


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