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The Gators won their 16th consecutive game on Tuesday night at Tennessee.

Tuesday February 11, 2014At the Buzzer: Florida 67, Tennessee 58 (Instant Analysis)

The Gators won their 16th consecutive game on Tuesday night at Tennessee.

Chris Harry
By Chris Harry Senior Writer


WHAT HAPPENED: In one of their biggest road wins of the last few years, the third-ranked Gators withstood a torrid first-half of shooting by host Tennessee, then completely reversed their defensive intensity in the second half to pull away for their 16th straight victory. Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin scored 21 points, including another clutch performance down the stretch from the free-throw line to ice the game. He also had six assists, four steals and no turnovers. Both Wilbekin and sophomore guard Michael Frazier (11 points) nailed clutch 3-point shots after the Volunteers had cut a seven-point lead to one with less than five minutes to play.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Gators remained unbeaten through 11 games in Southeastern Conference play and pushed their cushion in the league standings to 2 1/2 games over Kentucky.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Sophomore guard DeVon Walker came into the game averaging 4.0 points and having made just eight of 35 shots from the 3-point line (22.9 percent). He had a 3-pointer in each half, both at critical times, finishing 2-for-2 from the arc and helping justify the coaching staff’s confidence in him. UF wants Walker to shoot when he’s open. Good for him. He’s worked hard in practice to put himself in position to get minutes. He needed some positive reinforcement.

STAGGERING STATISTIC: The Vols shot lights-out in the first half, going 15-for-24 from the floor for 62.5 percent. Roll that into Saturday’s uncharacteristically poor defensive effort in the win against Alabama and UF surrendered 58 percent shooting (including 9-for-17 from the arc) over a 60-minute, 1 1/2-game span.

SUBPLOT: Tennessee had won seven of the last eight against Florida at Thompson-Boling Arena, and nine of the last 11, dating to the 2003 season. That Big Orange monkey is off the Gators’ backs for a while.

UP NEXT: The Gators (22-2, 11-0) get the back end of their toughest two-game road stand of the season, with a date at Rupp Arena to face No. 14 Kentucky (18-5, 8-2) Saturday night. As if the hype won’t be big enough, ESPN’s “Game Day” will be in Lexington to lather up the Big Blue faithful and UK's chance to cut into the UF lead in the SEC.


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