Vols battle, but fall to #1 Gators, 56-49


ATLANTA (UT Release) - Tennessee battled all afternoon, but #1 Florida came away with a 56-49 victory over the Vols on Saturday. The Gators (31-2) extended their winning streak to 25 games and will play in the SEC Championship on Sunday.

The Vols are now 21-12 and will await their postseason fate on Sunday.

The Vols All-SEC performers Jordan McRae (15 points), Jarnell Stokes (13 points) combined for 28 points. Senior Jeronne Maymon added 10 points and hie rebounds before fouling out on a technical foul with less than five minutes remaining in the game.

Florida was led by Patric Young (16 points and eight rebounds) and SEC Player of the Year Scottie Wilbekin (14 points). Casey Prather added 12 points.

Tennessee led for much of the afternoon, including nearly 20 minutes spanning the two halves. But once the game tightened up in the second half, it was back and forth. The Gators continued to counter the Vols throughout the final 20 minutes.

After Tennessee re-built a five-point lead at 43-38, Florida answered with seven consecutive points. Frazier punctuated the spurt on his first 3-pointer of the game with nine minutes left, putting Florida up 45-43.

The Vols were held scoreless for more than seven minutes before Stokes make two free throws with 4:57 left to tie the game at 45. Florida would score 11 of the final 15 points in the game.

A personal foul and technical foul were called on Maymon fouling him out of the game with 4:39 left. Frazier and Young proceeded to make four foul shots and put Florida up by four, 49-45.

Down 51-49 with 1:21 left, the Vols' Antonio Barton was called for a flagrant foul. Prather made both free throws and the Gators retained possession with a 53-49 lead.

Tennessee didn't score for the game's final 2:48.

The Vols shot just 25 percent in the second half (5-of-20) and were outscored 28-14 over the final 20 minutes.

Florida took its first lead (38-37) since the game's opening minutes on a Casey Hill layup with 14:49 left in the game, to cap a 13-2 spurt for Florida.

Tennessee quickly responded to regained a 41-38 edge on a pair of layups by Maymon and McRae with 13 minutes left.

Down by double-figures in a game for just the second time this season, Florida bridged the halves with a 7-0 run to cut Tennessee's lead to three, 35-32 early in the second half.

Tennessee led for the final 13:31 of the first half and held a 35-28 advantage at halftime. It was just the eighth time this season Florida trailed at intermission with two coming against the Vols. McRae led the Vols with 10 points. Wilbekin topped all scorers with 13.

Both teams shot better than 53 percent in the first half (Florida 54.5 and Tennessee 53.8) with the Vols owned the boards, 14-10 as Maymon corralled six.

The Vols used an 14-4 run to take a 19-13 lead on a Derek Reese 3-pointer with 11 minutes left in the first half. Seven different players scored during the spurt. Maymon put the Vols up by seven on a jumper with 10:27 left in the first half, 21-14.

Later in the half, the Vols scored consecutive points to lead by 10, 33-23 after Maymon knocked two free throws with 2:06 left in the half.

Wilbekin canned a 3-pointer with seconds left to cut the Gators' deficit to seven.

Florida scored the game's first basket ended a five-game span where Tennessee did not trail for 200 consecutive minutes with five consecutive wire-to-wire wins.


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