Florida beats up on Vols 77-64

Inside Tennessee posed the question earlier today in a story; Could the Vols slow down the Gators? After tonight's contest, it was obvious that the 2002-03 Volunteers must improve their game strongly if they are to run with Florida when the Gators travel to Knoxville in a few weeks because they weren't ready for that speed tonight.

Matt Bonner scored a season-high 25 points to lead No. 11 Florida to a 77-64 win over visiting Tennessee at the O'Connell Center.

The Gators, who never trailed in the game, led by double-digits for most of the contest and by as many as 17 points in the second half. The Vols cut the lead to nine, 51-42, on a Thaydeus Holden three-pointer with 10:37 remaining, but could get no closer.

Ron Slay, who entered the game as the SEC's leading scorer at 22 points per game, led the Vols with 17 points. Jon Higgins added 14 and C.J. Watson had 12 for Tennessee, which falls to 8-4 (1-2 SEC).

Bonner has often caused problems for the Vols as was the case tonight. His 15 first-half points led the Gators to a 36-23 halftime advantage.

Slay became just the 26th player in UT history to score at least 1200 career points in the game and now ranks 24th on the Vols' all-time scoring list with 1212 points.

Florida (14-2, 3-0 SEC) extended its homecourt winning streak to 13 games dating back to last season. The Gators are 9-0 at home this season.

Tennessee, coming off a 1-1 SEC road trip, returns home Saturday against intrastate rival Vanderbilt in a 7:30 p.m. (EST) tipoff at Thompson-Boling Arena.

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