KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — After an up-and-down February, Tennessee men’s basketball started off March on a high note, mustering up some momentum heading into the most important month of basketball.
The Vols were able to send off their seniors in style, knocking off the Florida Gators 65-54 on Sunday inside Thompson-Boling Arena.
However, it took some time to garner up some power as it was a tale of two halves for the Vols.
Florida dominated the majority of the first half shooting 14-29 from the field and knocking down 3-9 from beyond the perimeter. Senior John Fulkerson looked more like himself, leading the team with an early 8 points. The Vols finally started to settle in late in the first half, going on an 8-0 run, sparked by a Victor Bailey Jr. three to pull them within five heading into the second half, 33-28.
The second half was all Tennessee.
After a quiet first half, Yves Pons went to work, grabbing seven boards in a 4-minute span. Tennessee went on a 9-0 run to jump out in front 47-41, with 10:46 left in the game. The Vols outscored (37-21) and outrebounded (22-11) Florida in their monstrous second half. The Vols shot 45% from the field and knocked down 6-8 shots from the charity stripe to overpower Florida, 65-54.
Tennessee scored majority of their points in the paint with 44.
Fulkerson, Keon Johnson and Victor Bailey Jr. all contributed 14 points. Pons had 5 points, 8 rebounds, 1 block and 2 steals in his final performance at TBA.
The Vols locked in the 4th seed and a double bye heading into the SEC Tournament.