After fouling out with just four points Tuesday night against Missouri, junior forward Grant Williams bounced back with 20 points Saturday night as No. 3 Tennessee pulled away late for a 78-67 win over the Florida Gators in Gainesville, Fla.
Junior guard Jordan Bowden added 17 points off the bench for the Volunteers (14-1, 3-0 SEC), who extended their win streak to 10 games.
Senior guard Admiral Schofield had 14 points, including a big 3-pointer with 45 seconds left that extended Tennessee’s lead to 72-67. Tennessee then scored six straight points to finish off the Gators.
Senior guard KeVaughn Allen led the Gators (9-6, 1-2 SEC) with 18 points, and freshman guard Noah Locke added 16 points.
Florida led by as many as six points early in the second half and went up 56-53 on an Allen 3-pointer with 8:19 left.
Locke hit a 3-pointer to put the Gators up 63-60 with 5:45 left, but Bowden answered with a 3-pointer and a steal and breakaway dunk, putting Tennessee ahead to stay at 65-63.
The Gators were able to feed off the crowd fueled from a pregame speech from football coach Dan Mullen in building a 38-35 halftime lead. Florida shot 41.4 percent from the field in the first half, and 40.9 percent (9-22) from 3-point range.
A layup by Schofield put Tennessee up 17-11, but the Gators answered with a 12-0 run.
Allen cut Tennessee’s lead to 17-15 with a four-point play, then gave Florida a 20-17 lead with a 3-pointer from the corner. Locke hit another trey to extend the lead to 23-17.
Florida led 36-29 on a layup by sophomore swingman Deaundrae Ballard before the Volunteers closed the half on a 6-2 run.
Junior guard Lamonte Turner hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 36-32. After a pair of Florida free throws, Turner hit another 3-pointer to cut Florida’s lead to 38-35 at halftime.
Turner added 12 points off the bench for the Volunteers, who shot 52.7 percent from the floor for the game, while the Gators finished at 35.2 percent.
—Field Level Media