Wed, 18 May 2022

Santiago Vescovi, No. 18 Tennessee rally to beat Florida

Field Level Media
27 Jan 2022, 12:05 GMT+10

Tennessee's defense recovered from a rough first half and held Florida to 29 points in the second, and Santiago Vescovi scored 23 points to lead all scorers as the No. 18 Volunteers got by the Gators 78-71 Wednesday night in Knoxville, Tenn.

Vescovi and Kennedy Chandler each hit four free throws with less than a minute to play to ensure Tennessee's win. Chandler finished with 17 points and Vescovi knocked down five of his team's 11 3-pointers. A key difference was at the free throw line, where Tennessee (14-5 overall, 5-3 SEC) shot nine more times and made eight more attempts than the Gators.

Anthony Duruji and Tyree Appleby led Florida (12-8, 3-5) with 16 points each.

Florida started hot and stayed that way in the first half. Down 10-8 three minutes into the game, the Gators went on a 15-0 run to take a 23-10 lead. Brandon McKissic scored eight points in that stretch with two 3-pointers and a layup.

Appleby got it started with a deep 3 that banked in off the backboard.

But Tennessee responded with a 14-3 run to make the score 26-24 with 7:22 left in the half. Zakai Zeigler hit his only two 3s of the first half, and the Volunteers recovered from Florida's first surge.

The Gators kept coming, and put together another double-digit run with 10 unanswered points. They led 36-24 with 3:04 to play in the first half, their energy and hustle on both ends making a difference.

Vescovi kept the Volunteers in the game. He hit four 3s in the first half and scored Tennessee's last eight points of the half, and Florida led 42-34 at the break.

The second half saw the Volunteers get back in the game and make it tight. Off a steal, Vescovi drove in for a reverse layup with 10:42 to play, giving Tennessee its first lead, at 56-55, since its 10-8 advantage early in the first half.

Vescovi's layup was the turning point, as Tennessee went ahead 61-55 and never trailed again.

Duruji had 12 of his points in the second half.

--Field Level Media

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