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Tennessee Vols Basketball downs Florida 78-66 in SEC Tournament

 

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsNashville, TN – A year to the day after not being able to take the court in the second round of the 2020 SEC Tournament, the Tennessee basketball team used a balanced offensive effort and a single-game, school-record nine blocks from senior Yves Pons to push past Florida, 78-66, Friday at Bridgestone Arena.

The win advanced Tennessee to the SEC Tournament semifinals for the third consecutive conference tournament.

The Vols were led by a stat-sheet-stuffing performance from back-to-back SEC All-Defensive Teamer Pons, who tallied 11 points, eight rebounds, and nine blocks.

Tennessee Men's Basketball freshman Santiago Vescovi scored 14 points and drained four 3 pointers in Vols win over Florida in SEC Tournament quarterfinals action, Friday. (UT Athletics)

Tennessee Men’s Basketball freshman Santiago Vescovi scored 14 points and drained four 3 pointers in Vols win over Florida in SEC Tournament quarterfinals action, Friday. (UT Athletics)

His nine blocks not only set a Tennessee single-game record but also tied the SEC Tournament record (shared with Kentucky’s Andre Riddick, 1993).

Pons also finished the game with a team-high plus/minus rating of +15.

Sophomore Santiago Vescovi led Tennessee in scoring with 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting while dishing out five assists.

Classmate Josiah-Jordan James also authored a versatile individual effort, scoring 10 points, grabbing nine rebounds, and dishing out six assists with no turnovers.

SEC All-Freshman teamer Keon Johnson also scored in double-figures, logging 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Johnson added nine rebounds and six assists on the afternoon.

Fellow SEC All-Freshman honoree Jaden Springer scored 13 second-half points to help push the Vols through the game’s waning moments.

The opening 10 minutes of the game were defined by the Tennessee defense, which completely stifled Florida, holding the Gators to a 4-of-18 mark from the field to take an early 20-10 lead.

The programs went basket-for-basket in the final stages of the half, as Tennessee withstood a late Florida run to hold a 31-22 edge into the halftime break.

The second half began in much the same way the opening frame concluded, with UT holding on to a 10-point advantage as the contest approached its final minutes.

The Vols held off an explosive second half from Florida sophomore Tre Mann, who scored a game-high 30 points, and used a number of timely buckets to roll into Saturday’s semifinal round.

You’ve Been LeBlocked: Senior Yves Pons’ school-record-setting nine blocks also marked the 20th time in his career that Pons has rejected at least three shots and the ninth time he’s sent away at least four shots in a singles game.

Three’s Company: Yves Pons, Keon Johnson, and Josiah-Jordan James all tallied double-digit points and brought down eight or more rebounds to help lead Tennessee past Florida for the second time in six days.

 


Box Score

Florida 66, Tennessee 78

  1 2 F
Florida 22 44 66
Tennessee 31 47 78

Next Up For Tennessee Men’s Basketball

The Tennessee men’s basketball team takes on sixth-ranked and top-seeded Alabama in Saturday afternoon’s semifinal round. Tipoff from Nashville is set for 12:00pm CT on ESPN.


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