KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (school release) -- For the ninth time in school history, an unranked Tennessee team knocked off a ranked Florida team as the Vols downed the No. 13/14 Gators, 67-56 before a raucous Thompson-Boling Arena crowd on Saturday. A new starting line-up gave the Vols a bolt from its first five and the reserves.
Tennessee (8-7, 1-0 SEC) was led by Kenny Hall, who scored 13 points in his first game off the bench this season. Normal starters Jeronne Maymon (12 points, 7 rebounds) and Trae Golden (12 points, 7 assists) keyed the win. Jordan McRae also came off the bench for the first time all season and tallied 10.
The last time an unranked Vols team knocked off a ranked Gators team was Feb. 27, 2007, when UT defeated No. 5 Florida, 86-76.
It was the Vols' first win over a ranked team this season under new coach Cuonzo Martin and first since Feb. 22, 2011, when the Vols upset No. 18 Vanderbilt, 60-51 in Nashville.
The Vols began their gaulet of a schedule with a rousing victory as UT faces three straight Top 15 teams as UT travels to No. 15 Mississippi State next Thursday and follows that up with a clash with No. 2 Kentucky next Saturday.
Florida (12-4, 0-1 SEC) was led by Erik Murphy and Kenny Boynton, who each scored 13 points.
Tennessee's bench was dominant as the Vols outscored the Gators, 25-1 led by Hall's 13. The Vols' defense was stellar as Tennessee limited the Gators to a season-low 35.7 percent. It was the lowest field goal percentage for the Gators since shooting 28.3 at Auburn (1/20/11) last season. Tennessee also drew four charges with Maymon taking a pair of add to his team high of 11.
Kenny Hall's dunk off a feed from Cameron Tatum with 13:08 gave the Vols the first double-digit lead of the game at 48-38. The Vols took a 12-point lead, 55-43 on a pair of free throws by Tatum with 10:18 left in the half. Tatum then came back with a 3-pointer about a minute later as the Vols' lead expanded to 15 points, 58-43.
Josh Richardson canned a 3-pointer and Tatum stole a Florida pass on the following possession and dunked one home for a 38-31 Vols' advantage less than a minute into the second half.
Golden hit a 3-pointer as time ticked down in the first half to give the Vols a 33-29 lead at intermission. Golden and Maymon both scored 10 points in the first half.
A Jordan McRae 3-pointer off a dish from Golden with two minutes left in the first half put the Vols up 28-26. But Florida, answered right back after Billy Donovan called timeout as Boyton hit a trey to regain the lead for UF, 29-28. Wes Washpun hit a runner with 1:25 left to swing the lead back to Tennessee, 30-29.
The first half was back and fourth with neither team leading by more than four points over the first 20 minutes. The lead changed hands 11 times.
Tennessee returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 12 at #15/16 Mississippi State (ESPN2) at 9 p.m. The Vols home to host No. 2 Kentucky on Saturday at 12 p.m. The game will air on ESPN and can be heard on the Vol Network.
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