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No. 14 Tennessee Volunteers top Florida Gators 61-60

Florida’s Alex Tyus, on left working against Steven Pearl in the first half, scores 18 but misses a shot in the final seconds.

Associated Press

Florida’s Alex Tyus, on left working against Steven Pearl in the first half, scores 18 but misses a shot in the final seconds.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee was down by a point with 25 seconds left when coach Bruce Pearl called a timeout to set up the Volunteers' final play.

Scotty Hopson figured the ball would be in the hands of go-to post player Wayne Chism. Instead, Pearl made Chism the decoy and told Hopson to take the shot.

"I'll get it if we're maybe down two and need a 3," Hopson said. "We obviously needed a big shot, and coach had the confidence to put it in my hands so I stepped up and knocked it down."

Well, first he had to shake Chandler Parsons, who didn't fall for Chism's decoy, and adjust the designed shot. He hit a fading jumper over Parsons just in front of the 3-point line with 21 seconds left to give No. 14 Tennessee a 61-60 win over UF on Sunday.

"I thought he would be more open. He did not get much of a look, but he made a play himself," Pearl said. "It is a big shot."

The basket gave the Volunteers (16-4, 4-2 SEC) their sixth straight win over their East Division rival and fifth straight victory in Knoxville. It also kept Tennessee from dropping a third game in the row, which the Vols have only done once under Pearl.

It also ended Florida's four-game winning streak, the Gators' longest in league play since opening the 2007 season 11-0.

"I have been on the (winning) end of two of those shots … and Hopson really knocked down a big-time shot," said UF coach Billy Donovan, referring to Parson's winners against N.C. State and South Carolina this season.

Alex Tyus, who led the Gators with 18 points, had a chance to grab the lead back for Florida (15-6, 4-3) but missed a jumper in a crowd under the basket with five seconds left, and Hopson came away with the rebound.

"It felt good. Just kind of trickled out," Tyus said of his shot. "You just got to realize that wasn't the reason why we lost the game. We just need to learn how to play a full game."

Tennessee overcame a sloppy first half, becoming scrappier on defense and outrebounding the Gators 27 to 12 after halftime.

Florida's backcourt duo of Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton, who entered the game having combined for 37.2 of Florida's 75.3 average points in SEC play, finished with a total of 13 points.

"I thought they had some pretty decent looks. They just did not shoot the ball particularly well," Donovan said.

No. 14 Tenn. 61

Florida 60

No. 14 Tennessee Volunteers top Florida Gators 61-60 01/31/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 5:17pm]
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