Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

No. 12 Florida Gators defeat Tennessee Vols 85-74 in SEC tournament quarterfinals

Florida’s Kenny Boynton shoots during the win over Tennessee. Boynton, a sophomore guard, led the Gators with 22 points; all five starters scored in double figures.

Getty Images

Florida’s Kenny Boynton shoots during the win over Tennessee. Boynton, a sophomore guard, led the Gators with 22 points; all five starters scored in double figures.

ATLANTA — Coaches will often tell you it's not easy to beat a team twice in one season. Three times? Obviously even harder.

So when the SEC tournament bracket played out that Tennessee would face Florida for the third time this season, it seemed odds were in the Vols' favor. But after taking a double-digit lead early, then falling apart midway through the first half, Florida scored 56 second-half points and shot 82 percent from the field to earn an 85-74 win Friday night in the quarterfinals.

It is the first time in Florida history that the Gators have defeated the Vols three times in one season.

"That's huge for us to come in here and do that, and it's very special," UF senior forward Chandler Parsons said. "The rivalry of Florida-Tennessee is big, and it's been big since I've been a freshman here. And it's tough because they are a great team. So I think it's really special that we did that."

The Gators (25-6), who received their SEC regular-season championship trophy in a short pregame ceremony, face Vanderbilt at 3:30 p.m. today. The Commodores defeated Mississippi State 87-81. It will be Florida's first appearance in the SEC semifinals since winning the tournament in 2007.

Florida led by 12 in the first half, taking a 25-13 lead with 9:55 remaining. But Tennessee (19-14) got tougher on defense and Florida struggled.

Led by forward Tobias Harris and junior guard Scotty Hopson, Tennessee outscored Florida 21-4 in the final 9:22 of the first half to take a 34-29 halftime lead. Harris scored six of Tennessee's first eight on his way to an 18-point first-half effort — 8-of-10 from the field. He had a game-high 25 points.

Florida scored just one basket in the final 6:18 of the half. Junior guard Erving Walker said the team was embarrassed by the performance.

"Coach (Billy Donovan) yelled at us at halftime and put us in our place," Walker said. "We didn't want to continue to look like that; we started playing like Florida in the second half."

With the score tied at 50 with 12:09 remaining, Florida went on a 7-0 run to take a 57-50 lead and never trailed again.

Tennessee's foul trouble put Florida in the bonus at the 12:35 mark, and the Gators went 24-of-33 from the free-throw line in the second half.

All five Florida starters scored in double figures, and the Gators shot 82.4 percent from the field in the second half, 58.7 percent in the game, for their second best percentage of the season. Florida was 14-of-17 in the second half.

"Florida in the second half, their offense was absolutely on fire and our defense was nonexistent," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. " … And when you allow a team to score 56 points in the second half or shoot the way they shot and send them to the foul line as often as we sent them, you got no chance to win."

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

N

C

A

A

2

0

1

1

No. 12 UF 85

Tenn. 74

No. 12 Florida Gators defeat Tennessee Vols 85-74 in SEC tournament quarterfinals 03/11/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 12, 2011 12:43am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Celtics were only team in position to deal for Kyrie Irving

    Nba

    The Cavaliers found themselves in a seemingly impossible situation when it came to trading Kyrie Irving. Not only did Cleveland need to try to extract the kind of price a team looks to get to trade its star — some combination of cap relief, young players and draft picks — it also needed to acquire talent to …

    Kyrie Irving, left, is guarded by Stephen Curry during the NBA Finals last season. [Associated Press]
  2. Browns, who visit Bucs this week, take a courageous step toward social change

    Bucs

    CLEVELAND — The laughingstock of the league during a 1-15 season in 2016, the Browns took a dramatic step forward Monday night.

    Browns players kneel as others stand to support their circle during the national anthem before Monday night's preseason game against the Giants. [Associated Press]
  3. Can Bucs become Tampa Bay's favorite team again?

    Bucs

    Their playoff run came up a tiebreaker short.

    Bucs fullback, Mike Alstott talks to the crowd as he walked along Kennedy Blvd. in downtown Tampa during the Buccaneer victory parade Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2003.Times Photo by: Fraser Hale
  4. Jones: Koetter-Winston exchange highlights latest 'Hard Knocks'

    Bucs

    There are certain things that make HBO's Hard Knocks must-see television.

    Jameis Winston, left, has an exchange with Dirk Koetter that highlights Hard Knocks.
  5. Trevor Plouffe is DFA'd by Rays, Kittredge recalled for now

    Blogs

    INF Trevor Plouffe didn't do much with the opportunity the Rays gave him, and time ran out Tuesday when he was designated for assignment after the game.

    Plouffe hit just .178, with one homer and two RBIs, in 31 games for the Rays, his primary playing time from starting at first or third against lefties.