Florida Crushes Cold-Shooting Tennessee, 67-41, In SEC Play

Win Is 26th Straight At Home For The Streaking Gators

Saturday, January 25, 2014 - by Special to Chattanoogan.com

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Sixth-ranked Florida extended its home court win streak to 26 games with a 67-41 rout of cold-shooting Tennessee on Saturday.

The Gators are one of the hottest teams in the land, posting 11 wins in a row, as they added to their school-record streak of wins at the O'Connell Center.

Junior 

html">Jarnell Stokes was a force for the Vols (12-7, 3-3 SEC) with his 10th double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jeronne Maymon added eight points and seven rebounds for Tennessee, which suffered its first loss to Florida since 2011.

Florida (17-2, 6-0), the SEC's top defense limited Tennessee to season lows in points, field goal percentage (26.8) and 3-point field goal percentage (1-of-19, 5.3 percent). The Vols did out rebound the Gators, 40-35.

Florida had a quartet of scorers in double-figures led by Michael Frazier II (17). Scottie Wilbekin (13), Casey Prather (12) and Patric Young (10) also hit the mark. The Gators shot 48.1 from the floor.

Up by seven at the half, Florida outscored the Vols, 41-22 in the second half to pull away. 

The Vols' top scorer Jordan McRae was held to five points and made just 1 of 15 field-goal attempts.

Frazier knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to put the Gators ahead, 34-21 with 15:48 left in the game. That was the first double-figure lead for either team.

Florida continued to pour it on as the Gators scored 21 of the game's first 26 points to begin the second half. Tennessee made just two of its first 18 shots to start the half.

The Gators' lead bulged to 23 at 47-24 midway through the second half.

The largest lead for Florida was 32 at 67-35 on a Dorian Finney-Smith 3-pointer with 2:43 left in the game.

Florida led 26-19 at halftime as the teams grinded to an end of the half. They combined for four points -- two by each team -- in the final 5:50 of the half.

The Vols' only basket over the final 9:44 was a layup by Maymon with 57 seconds left in the half. Those were the only points in the final 3:48 by either team.

Tennessee shot just 7-of-26 for 27 percent, but outrebounded the Gators, 20-15.

Stokes led all players in the first half with eight points.

Tennessee returns home to host Ole Miss on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. The game airs on SportSouth and can be heard on the Vol Network.

Florida and Tennessee rematch in Knoxville on Feb. 11.

Postgame quotes:

TENNESSEE QUOTES

HEAD COACH Cuonzo Martin

(On Florida defense)
"I thought they did a great job defending, pressing and speeding us up and forcing us to take tough shots in the half court. I thought they had a good gameplan with Jarnell (Stokes) and Jeronne (Maymon) in really doubling those guys and forcing our guards to beat them. And, it went well for them."

(On Florida containing McCrae and Stokes)
"I think the challenged every one of Jordan's shots. They made him take tough, off-balanced shots and they were doubling Jarnell. Every time he had the ball around the rim, they corralled him."

(On Florida's press)
"The thing we talked about as a staff was getting across the court and attacking the rim. If they press, then you've got to get it up and across and attack. Put pressure on their defense because they don't have shot blockers. They don't have bigs that take charges. We didn't do a very good job of attacking their press and trying to score."

(On the Florida crowd noise affecting the team)
"I thought the crowd had good energy. It was very loud and I think in some situations, especially in the second half, away from our bench on our ball-screen defense, they turned the corner several times and scored off that and got the lob dunk twice. We didn't do a very good job with that."

(On Florida playing tight defense with the press)
"I think they felt that it was working and probably it was a case of not letting Jeronne and Jarnell to get the ball. They're pressuring and speeding you up, they're not allowing you to get to the rim. Like I told our guards, you've got to be able to turn the corner, attack the rim and force them to make plays and force them to attack on defense."

(On Florida defense)
"I think they have one of the best team defenses in the entire nation. It felt like we were being trapped the entire game. I was somewhat surprised that I got 16 because they were double-teaming the post and forced us to hit shots."

(On if Florida was faster, quicker and tougher than initially thought to be)
"We just didn't make them pay for double-teaming. We went 1-for-19 from the three-point line -- anytime you miss that many shots, then you put yourself in a bad position when a team is trapping like that."

(On Florida's ball-screen offense)
"Being down the whole game, and it was so loud, I think guys were confused as far as what assignment they were supposed to be in with which players. I think we had certain players we forced to go through the screen and certain players we downed the screen. We just didn't do a good job with that today."

(On struggles with full-court pressure and managing the shot clock)
"I tell guys all the time, 'If they're going to trap us and force us and speed us up, we have to make the pay and push the ball up in transition.' I've been begging guys to push it in transition and make guys pay for double-teaming us. We slowed the ball down and played into their hands. Playing with a 15 or 20-second shot clock isn't good for us."

(On how to bounce back)
"We have two big games on Wednesday and then on Saturday. We're in for a dogfight this week and we just have to win games. We just have to let this one go." 

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com)

 



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