Florida's bench erupts after center Jason Jitoboh makes a three pointer in the second half of an NCCA college basketball game on Sunday, Dec, 4, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. (Doug Engle/The Gainesville Sun via AP)

Gators Hoops Upsets No. 2 Tennessee 67-54

February begins with an upset in Gainesville. The Florida Gators (13-9) defeated the Tennessee Volunteers (18-4), 67-54 in what is now Todd Golden’s biggest win of his tenure at Florida. Colin Castleton finished with 20 points and went a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line. Kyle Lofton also pitched in 14 points.

Gators Jump To Early Lead

From the tip, Florida’s home crowd was as rowdy as they’ve been so far this season. The Gators opened up with great ball movement leading to some wide-open looks. Their offense was very efficient, in addition to the Volunteers missing many looks. In the first 10 minutes of the game, the Gators scored 17 points and allowed only 4 points from Tennessee.

Coming into this game, Colin Castleton was vital for any chance of an upset. Castleton was working the post and hitting his free throws. He finished the first half with four points and four rebounds but impressively didn’t commit any fouls. Will Richard also contributed with two three-pointers that gave the team momentum.

The final minutes of the half were sloppy by Florida. Tennessee went on a 17-10 run to cut the lead down to 6. The Gators were struggling to hit their shots and the Volunteers were dominant on the offensive board, giving them many second-chance points.

After the game, Head Coach Todd Golden spoke about what the expectation was coming into a matchup against arguably the best defensive team in the country.

Volunteers Nearly Pull Off The Comeback

Tennessee immediately came out of the half and led a comeback. They were aggressive and got to the free-throw line consistently. On the other side of the ball, the Gators couldn’t buy a bucket. After about 9 minutes into the half, Tennessee managed to take their first lead since the first moments of the game.

Florida did not back down though. In the final 10 minutes of the 2nd half, the Gators began scoring and dominating the glass. They regained the lead with about 8 minutes left in the game. Castleton was being as aggressive as ever and scoring at will. Tennessee could not seem to stop him from getting to the line, where he wouldn’t miss.

What’s Next For Both Squads

The Gators have a few days of rest before a tough matchup at Kentucky on Saturday.

The Volunteers are also in action on Saturday. They’ll host Auburn in a big-time ranked matchup.

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