Gators put the chomp to 2nd-ranked Vols in Gainesville

Florida’s aggressive defense stymies Tennessee shooters in 67-54 win.
University of Tennessee basketball practice
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 11:29 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 3, 2023 at 1:53 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A cold shooting night on the road plagued Tennessee, as the Vols dropped their first SEC road contest of the season Wednesday at Florida, 67-54.

Zakai Zeigler (15), Olivier Nkamhoua (11) and Santiago Vescovi (11) all scored in double figures for Tennessee, but the Vols shot just 28 percent from the field as a team—their lowest percentage during conference play this season.

Florida was hot out of the gates, building a 17-4 lead by the under-12 media timeout. The Gators made six of their first nine field goal attempts, while Tennessee made just one of its first 10.

Florida scored five straight points to end the first half and head into the locker room with a 27-21, lead. The 21 points was UT’s lowest offensive output in the first half this season.

After trailing for nearly the entirety of the first half and by six points at halftime, Tennessee claimed its first lead since the opening minute of the game on a three from Zeigler with 12:27 remaining—part of an 11-2 Tennessee run that was kickstarted by another 3-pointer from Zeigler.

With the Vols possessing their largest lead of the night at 44-38 with just over 10 minutes to go, Florida responded with an offensive spurt of their own, pulling in front by nine with 5:12 to go after a 17-2 run.

Tennessee (18-4, 7-2) returns to Thompson-Boling Arena for another home top-25 matchup Saturday, taking on No. 25 Auburn. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. ET on ESPN.