GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s finest efficiency of the season – perhaps even of coach Mike White’s six-year tenure – got here with out three starters.
Noah Locke scored 14 factors, Tyree Appleby added 13 and the short-handed Gators surprised No. 6 Tennessee in dominating trend, 75-49 on Tuesday evening.
Tre Mann chipped in 12 factors for Florida, which received sudden assist from a number of bench guys to offset being with out guard Scottie Lewis (COVID-19 protocols) and ahead Colin Castleton (ankle).
Ahead Omar Payne, beginning for the primary time in practically a yr, completed with 9 factors, 9 rebounds and 5 blocked pictures for the Gators (7-4, 4-Three Southeastern Convention).
”It was my alternative to shine,” Payne mentioned. ”I am able to doing it, so I needs to be doing it daily.”
Seldom-used subs Jason Jitoboh, Osayi Osifo, Niels Lane and Ques Glover additionally delivered high quality minutes in opposition to the SEC’s high group. Jitoboh had three rebounds, a block and a steal. Osifo completed with 4 factors and 6 boards. Lane added six factors and 5 rebounds. And Glover chipped in 10 factors and three steals.
”That is in addition to this group has performed,” White mentioned. ”I informed them, ‘You are going to get extra minutes tonight. What are you going to do with it? Nobody shied away from it.”
The Volunteers (10-2, 4-2) had a woeful taking pictures efficiency and have been equally ineffective on the opposite finish. Florida, which spent the final month slowly tweaking its offense to beat the lack of standout ahead Keyontae Johnson – who collapsed on the court docket in early December and is probably going out for the season – pounded Tennessee inside.
The Gators outrebounded the Vols by eight and outscored them 42-22 within the paint. Tennessee’s 49 factors have been a season low.
”We proved tonight we’re not adequate to undergo the motions,” mentioned Vols coach Rick Barnes, who promised lineup adjustments shifting ahead.
Florida used a 7-Zero run to construct a double-digit late within the first half and a 13-2 spurt early within the second to stretch its benefit to 20 factors (53-33).
The consequence was Florida’s most shocking victory since upsetting No. Four Auburn in Gainesville final January. This might need been much more stunning given the state of Florida’s roster. Johnson, Castleton and Lewis mixed to common practically 40 factors.
Castleton tweaked an ankle in Florida’s final recreation and was dominated out shortly after warmups. Lewis missed his third straight recreation, however is anticipated to return this weekend.
”We have now to proceed to play this fashion,” Locke mentioned. ”We might simply be hurting ourselves if we do not. We noticed we will do that. We simply received to proceed to do it. We confirmed that we will compete with any group. It was simply all about us. … I really feel like if we proceed to do this, we will beat anybody.”
Tennessee shot 29% from the sphere and hit Three of 18 from 3-point vary. John Fulkerson led the Vols with 15 factors, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. However the 6-foot-9, 215-pound ahead was no match for Payne and Jitoboh down low.
Main scorer Victor Bailey Jr. completed with 4 factors on 1-of-12 taking pictures.
”It hurts whenever you play as badly as we performed tonight,” Barnes mentioned.
The Vols have been with out guard Jaden Springer, who injured his left ankle in opposition to Vanderbilt on Saturday and hasn’t practiced since.
Springer, a freshman, averages 10 factors. His replacements did little to decelerate Florida, which regularly drove into the lane for straightforward baskets or dishes to wide-open teammates.
Tennessee: The Vols had gained 4 in a row within the sequence and a fifth straight appeared like a lock given Florida’s damage scenario. However the Gators uncovered Tennessee’s largest weak point: an absence of a submit presence.
Florida: White appears to get his finest from his guys in opposition to high competitors. The Gators now have wins of 17, 22 and 26 factors in opposition to top-10 groups throughout White’s six seasons.
Tennessee: Hosts No. 19 Missouri on Saturday.
Florida: Performs at Georgia on Saturday.
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