Tennessee (15-13 | 7-8 SEC) vs. Florida (18-10 | 10-5 SEC)
Saturday, February 29th, 2020 | 1:05pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena | TV: ESPN2
Knoxville, TN – The Tennessee Vols basketball team returns home to Thompson-Boling Arena for a Saturday afternoon matchup with the Florida Gators. Tipoff is set for 1:00pm CT on ESPN2.
Saturday’s game can be seen on ESPN2, online through WatchESPN and on any mobile device through the ESPN App. Fans can access WatchESPN at espn.com/watch. Mike Corey and Jimmy Dykes will have the call.
Fans can also listen live on their local Vol Network affiliate to hear Bob Kesling and Bert Bertlekamp describing the action.
Last time out, the Vols fell on the road at Arkansas, 86-69, on Wednesday night. The Vols were led in scoring for the third consecutive game by senior Jordan Bowden.
The Knoxville native scored 19 points, knocking down 7-of-16 attempts from the field, while draining four 3-point field goals. Bowden is currently riding a stretch of hot form, averaging 17.3 points per game in the Vols last seven outings.
A victory on Saturday would be the Vols fourth consecutive victory over the Gators and would stand as the 50th SEC regular-season victory for UT head man Rick Barnes.
Up next, Tennessee hits the road for a Tuesday night clash with SEC rival Kentucky. Tipoff inside Rupp Arena is scheduled for 8:00pm CT on ESPN.
Tennessee leads the all-time series with Florida, 76-57, dating to 1927.
The Vols have a 47-16 edge when the series is played in Knoxville.
Tennessee has won three straight in the series and four of the last five.
A Win Would
Give the Vols a four-game win streak in the series.
Be Tennessee’s 50th regular-season SEC victory under head coach Rick Barnes.
Tennessee freshman Drew Pember and Florida freshman Ques Glover were teammates at Knoxville’s Bearden High School and led the Bulldogs to the Class AAA state championship last March.
Pember remains in concussion protocol (day to day).
UT is holding opponents to 58.1 points per game at Thompson-Boling Arena this season.
In UT’s last four games, Jordan Bowden is averaging a team-best 17.3 points while shooting .409 from 3-point range and posting a 2.1 assist/turnover ratio.
With 182 career 3-point makes, Jordan Bowden ranks eighth on Tennessee’s all-time list.
In SEC home games, junior forward John Fulkerson leads the Vols in scoring (14.4 ppg), rebounding (7.6 rpg) and field-goal percentage (.600).
Tennessee ranks fourth nationally in average home attendance, drawing 18,795 fans per game this season.
During SEC play, Tennessee leads the league in blocks (5.9 bpg) and owns the conference’s best scoring defense (66.9 ppg).
SEC Defensive Player of the Year candidate Yves Pons has blocked at least one shot in every game this season. He leads the SEC and ranks 21st nationally with 2.4 bpg. His 2.5 bpg during SEC play also leads the league.
Freshman point guard Santiago Vescovi is Tennessee’s leading scorer in home games, averaging a team-best 13.7 points per game at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Barring injury or illness, senior guard Jordan Bowden will finish his career in the top five on Tennessee’s list for career games played. Saturday will be the 130th game in which he’s appeared.
About The Florida Gators
Winners of four of its last five SEC contests, Florida has upped its record to 18-10 overall and 10-5 in the SEC over the last three weeks, good enough for third in the league with just three regular-season games remaining. Florida’s latest win came at home on Wednesday night over conference contender LSU, 81-66.
Florida’s head coach, Mike White, is currently in his fifth year at the helm and has helped the Gators sustain success as they look to make a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
On the court, preseason SEC Player of the Year Kerry Blackshear has been a force for the Gators, ranking second on the team in scoring (13.1 ppg) and assists (1.6 apg), while leading the squad in rebounding, with 7.5 boards per contest. Blackshear, a grad transfer from Virginia Tech, is fresh off a trip to the Sweet Sixteen with the 2018-19 edition of the Hokies.
A big contributor on the defensive end for Florida has been freshman guard Scottie Lewis, who leads the Gators in both blocks (1.3 bpg) and steals (1.2 spg). His 1.3 blocks per contest places him eighth in the SEC, ranking first among guards.
Florida’s leading scorer is sophomore forward Keyontae Johnson, who’s averaging 14.3 points per game. His scoring average places him in 13th in the SEC. During conference action, he also sits at 13th in the league, but has upped his average to 14.7 points per contest in 15 league games.
The University of Florida is widely known for its creation of the popular sports drink Gatorade. The drink was developed by Robert Cade ahead of the 1965 football season. Cade was a professor in the university’s College of Medicine.
Tennessee Vols Last Game Against Florida
In front of a season-high crowd of 22,261, No. 1 Tennessee’s high-flying second half helped the Vols top the Florida Gators, 73-61, on February 9th, 2019, in Knoxville.
Tennessee pushed its win streak to 18 games, the longest streak in Rick Barnes‘ 32-year head coaching career.
The Vols pushed the lead to as many as 19 points when Jordan Bowden knocked down a left wing 3-pointer. The junior, who was fouled in the act of shooting, converted the and-one opportunity to make it 69-50 with 5:14 left on the clock.
The Vols took that 36-30 edge into the locker room with Schofield and Williams leading the way with eight points each.
Coming out of the halftime break, the game remained within two scores before a pair of 3-pointers from Lamonte Turner pushed the Tennessee lead back to double digits.
With the victory, the Vols improved to 10-0 in SEC play, their best start since the 1976-77 season.
And the Big Orange’s win streak in regular-season SEC games extended to a program-record 14 straight.
Memorable Vol Performances Against Gators
The legendary Bernard King recorded the third-best scoring performance in school history with a 43-point, 20-rebound effort as the Vols topped the Gators 93-84 on January 17th, 1976, in Stokely Athletics Center.
During the 1983-84 season, Willie Burton averaged 16.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and shot .500 (17-of-34) from the floor against the Gators. UT was 3-0 vs. Florida that season.
Dane Bradshaw’s breakaway layup with 20.1 seconds to play proved to be the winning basket as the Vols upset second-ranked Florida 80-76 in Knoxville on Jan. 21, 2006.
The Vols upset fifth-ranked Florida, 86-76, on Senior Day in Knoxville behind Chris Lofton’s 21 points on February 27th, 2007. ESPN College GameDay broadcast live from Rocky Top, Peyton Manning addressed the Vols in the locker room before the game, and Pat Summitt donned cheerleader garb and led the sold-out crowd in a rendition of Rocky Top during a media timeout.
Bowden Has Played Well In His Career Against Florida
Vols senior Jordan Bowden has faced Florida four times previously in his career, helping Tennessee post a 3-1 record vs. the Gators.
Against Florida, Bowden averages 13.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game while shooting .533 from the field, .500 from 3-point range and .842 from the free-throw line.
Bowden Among SEC’s Best
Senior guard Jordan Bowden ranks among the SEC’s active career leaders in several statistical categories.
He ranks third in points (1,327), fourth in steals (126), eighth in assists (250) and ninth in rebounds (449).
Only Breein Tyree (Ole Miss) and Skylar Mays (LSU) have scored more career points among active players.
JB Also Prominent On UT Charts
Jordan Bowden also has placed his name prominently throughout the Tennessee career records book.
His 1,327 points place him 25th on UT’s career scoring list.
And his 182 3-pointers rank eighth all-time. He needs just two more 3-pointers to tie former teammate and NBA rookie Admiral Schofield for seventh all-time.
Turnover Woes Unusual
Approaching the end of the regular season, this is the most turnover-prone team of Rick Barnes‘ tenure at Tennessee.
These Vols average 13.9 turnovers per game (14.1 in SEC play). Tennessee’s previous high under Barnes was the 2016-17 squad, which averaged 12.5 tpg. It’s the highest average for any Barnes team since his 2012-13 Texas squad averaged 14.8 tpg.
Upperclassmen are responsible for 52.7 percent of those turnovers (22.7 percent by seniors and 29.4 percent by juniors).
Freshmen have committed 45.4 percent of the team’s turnovers.
To add some context, upperclassmen account for 63.1 of the team’s total minutes played. Freshmen own 36.6 percent of the team’s minutes.