Jacksonville Sports Day

Bonts: Vols, Schofield Have Big Finish to Down Gators in SEC Play

Photo by Dakota Williams/UF

GAINESVILLE – In basketball it’s more important how you finish than how you start.

Case in point: Gators loss to Vols.

Admiral Schofield’s 3-pointer in the corner was the final blow in a road win over the Gators as No. 3 Tennessee defeated Florida, 78-67, in Exactech Arena.

“What a terrific environment. Wow!” UF coach coach Mike White said afterward. “Disappointed we couldn’t get it done for them.”

The Vols (14-1, 3-0 SEC) ended the last 44 seconds of the game on a 9-0 run to clinch the win.  Florida (9-6, 1-2 SEC) was held without a field goal over the last 3:35 of the game and scored just four points in the final six minutes of play.

Schofield also ran toward the Florida student section doing the Gator chomp, as he and his teammates celebrated their win.

“The Gator chomp is always my favorite because I have never liked Florida, never will,’ Schofield said.

But this celebration also was different. Schofield said the momentum of celebration was building throughout the game based on things being said by Florida fans.

“Their fans were chirping a lot, even behind our bench,” Schofield said. “Things that were said from fans that were just older fans. Not even students. Alumni, maybe. Just very disrespectful, inhumane. I won’t repeat what was said.”

Florida came into to game as the No. 6 scoring defense in the country and the best in the SEC. Tennessee finished the game with 78 points, which was 18 points higher than the Gators’ season average of 60.0 points allowed per game.

It was the second most points Florida has given up this season and the most since their season-opening loss to Florida State (81 points).

Williams finished with a game-high 20 points while also leading Tennessee with nine rebounds.

After a 3-pointer by Florida’s KeVaughn Allen made it a 41-35 Gators lead at the 19:08 mark, Tennessee responded with a 15-4 run, which was capped by a one-handed slam from Williams that forced Florida to call a timeout with 14:04 left.

Allen had 18 points, 6-for-9 shooting and was 5-for-6 from distance.

The Allen three was one of just seven made baskets for Florida in the second half, as Tennessee held them to 28 percent shooting. For the game, the Florida offense shot just 35.2 percent from the field.

Tennessee’s Jordan Bowden finished the game with 17 points, going 6-of-7 from the free-throw line, and led the visitors with two steals. Jordan Bone tallied a team-high five assists and added eight points and five rebounds.

The Big Orange jumped out to an early 17-11 lead behind a three 3-pointers at the 14:20 mark.

“We need more focus down the stretch,” UF freshman guard Noah Locke said after his team lost a 16th straight game against an opponent ranked in the top five, dating to the 2009-10 season. “It’s been a problem three games now, with being locked in and focused down the stretch, and we can’t let those things happen.”

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