Thursday, April 26, 2018
Sports

No. 6 Florida routs nemesis Tennessee

GAINESVILLE — After three consecutive losses to Tennessee — and a 4-9 record against the Volunteers since 2007 — No. 6 Florida was feeling a little heat with the Vols coming to town Saturday.

With four seniors who had lost more than they had won against the Vols, the game took on a "desperate" tone. And that was exactly the way Gators coach Billy Donovan wanted it.

Florida dominated defensively, holding Tennessee to a season-low in points in a 67-41 victory in front of 12,475 at the O'Connell Center.

"We came out with the mind-set of, I don't want to say revenge, but we had a little chip on our shoulder," said senior center Patric Young, who had 10 points and five rebounds. "They kicked our butts the last three times (they played). They didn't just beat us. I can remember each loss, and the last one was the worst because they were on their court celebrating."

Saturday's win marked the largest margin of victory against Tennessee since a 95-57 win in 2004. Florida (17-2, 6-0 SEC) won its 26th straight at home and 11th straight overall, and it remains the only undefeated team in SEC play.

"We came out with great energy and played with passion the whole game," said sophomore guard Michael Frazier, who led all scorers with 17 points. "That's what we needed to do; we needed to play tough the whole game."

UF led 26-19 at halftime after the Gators closed out the final 9:13 of the first half on an 11-4 run. Florida opened the second half on a 14-4 run to take a 40-23 lead with 13:40 left. Tennessee (12-7, 3-3) shot 26.8 percent from the field and was 1-of-19 from 3-point range.

Florida held Vols guard Jordan McRae to five points on 1-of-15 shooting. Forward Jarnell Stokes led UT with 16 points but was scoreless in the final 10:40.

"I thought Florida did a great job defending," Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said. "They turned us over, they sped us up with the press, they did a great job."

Prior to the game, Donovan challenged his team to play more "desperate," saying he wanted to see more of an edge than it had shown the past few games.

"I told our guys coming out of Auburn, coming out of Alabama, I thought we won the battle and lost the war," he said. "And what I meant by that is I thought our team in terms of the standard that I'd like to see our guys play up to, not that we're going to be perfect, but we lost that war. The outcome, the result was a 'W' against those two teams, but we didn't play to the level or our expectation I thought we could play at defensively. …

"(Saturday) I thought we played closer to our identity and our potential on defense. I think the last two games we didn't do that, so it was encouraging to me to see our guys come out with that kind of focus."

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Live blog: News, analysis, photos, more from the NFL draft

Live blog: News, analysis, photos, more from the NFL draft

Whether you're a fan of the Bucs, Gators, Seminoles, 'Canes or Bulls, you'll want to follow our live coverage of the 2018 NFL draft today through Saturday in Arlington, Tex. We'll have live news, commentary, photos, videos, stories and more, so come...
Updated: 1 hour ago
For starters: Rays at Orioles, looking to make it a six-pack of W’s

For starters: Rays at Orioles, looking to make it a six-pack of W’s

UPDATE, 6:05: LHP Jonny Venters said he was touched and a bit overwhelmed by all the people the reached out to congratulate him on his return to the majors for the first time since 2012. … Cash said Matt Duffy (right hamstring strain) is set to...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

TAMPA — As the Tampa Bay Lightning waits for the Boston Bruins to come to town for the next round of playoffs, the city’s business community — members large and small — say it has already won the NHL postseason.At WestShore Plaza this week, with blue...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Chris Kunitz brings four Stanley Cups worth of experience to the Lightning

Chris Kunitz brings four Stanley Cups worth of experience to the Lightning

TAMPA – It was the late spring of 2007, days after a much younger Chris Kunitz lifted the Stanley Cup for the first time. He found himself wondering if he would ever be in that position again. Hoping, really."For sure," he said. "It's almost a ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Valdes-Scantling gives his heart, soul and back to USF

Valdes-Scantling gives his heart, soul and back to USF

Though his career at USF ended only four months ago, rangy WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling already is giving back to his alma mater.By giving it his back.Valdes-Scantling, projected as a Saturday selection in this weekend's NFL draft, tweeted a photo sho...
Updated: 6 hours ago
2018 NFL draft: How Saquon Barkley could fall to the Bucs and why they shouldn’t take him

2018 NFL draft: How Saquon Barkley could fall to the Bucs and why they shouldn’t take him

There is "mounting belief" in NFL circles that the Browns are going to choose quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick tonight, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.If that happens, that increases the likelihood of running back Saquon Bark...
Updated: 7 hours ago
A look at the baseball world’s reaction to Venters comeback with Rays

A look at the baseball world’s reaction to Venters comeback with Rays

We tried to explain on Wednesday just how big a deal it was that the Rays were bringing LHP Jonny Venters back to the majors for the first time since his Braves days in 2012. And that it was not only a credit to how hard he worked and how long he per...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays morning after: Cobb still searching

Rays morning after: Cobb still searching

The 12 years he spent in the Rays organization, and the seven seasons he was around the big-league team, mean the world to Alex Cobb.But Wednesday he wasn't in the mood for memories.After a third straight outing for his new Orioles team ended badly, ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
After Bucs’ second-round pick, they face a historically bad situation

After Bucs’ second-round pick, they face a historically bad situation

Say Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb and Quenton Nelson are gone by the time the Bucs are up to make the seventh overall pick tonight at the NFL draft.What should they do? Take a defensive back? Trade down and acquire more picks?Here's some ammunition f...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Bucs fill a need at running back on the first day of the draft…but it’s Charles Sims, who agrees to a 1-year deal

Bucs fill a need at running back on the first day of the draft…but it’s Charles Sims, who agrees to a 1-year deal

The Bucs landed a running back on the first day of the NFL draft.It wasn't Saquon Barkley or Sony Michel or Derrius Guice. Not just yet, anyway.Tampa Bay reached an agreement on a one-year contract with Charles Sims.The 27-year-old Sims was a third-r...
Updated: 9 hours ago