The University of Tennessee needed this game much more than #3 ranked University of Florida did. The Volunteers, considered an early “bubble” team for the NCAA tournament at this point, needed a resume win over a top opponent. The Gators, on the other hand, would just be piling on with a victory.
Tennessee gave Florida everything they could handle, but ultimately Billy Donovan‘s team came away with their 16th straight victory by a final score of 67-58. They are now 22-2 on the season and 11-0 in the SEC.
Like their colleagues who play football in the Swamp, the Florida basketball team is making its mark on the defensive side of things. On this night they held the Volunteers to just those 58 points and only 5-for-14 from beyond the 3-point arc. Their work on defense allowed them to win this game despite shooting only 36.2% from the floor.
In the final minutes it was a couple transition three-pointers, including a dagger from Michael Frazier, and then some hustle offensive rebounds that put the game away. Florida actually did not hold their biggest lead of the night, which also happened to be the final margin (nine points), until the final minute of the game.
At 15-9, Tennessee is still left looking for that big win that will nudge them into the tournament. Florida now looks ahead to a big showdown Saturday night against Kentucky.