Vols fall to No. 3 Florida, 67-58

Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5) gets clawed in the face while grappling for a rebound against Florida forward Chris Walker (23) and Florida forward Will Yeguete (15), from left, during the first half at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Lau

Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5) gets clawed in the face while grappling for a rebound against Florida forward Chris Walker (23) and Florida forward Will Yeguete (15), from left, during the first half at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

At times it appeared the Tennessee men’s basketball team might snag the signature win it desperately needed for its NCAA tournament resume.

But Scottie Wilbekin, who missed his first five 3-point attempts, swished his sixth out of a timeout to give Florida a seven-point lead with 2:24 to play, and a noticeable amount of Tennessee fans grabbed their coats and headed for the exits.

Tennessee tied its game against No. 3 Florida four times but lost to the Gators 67-58 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday.

UT (15-9, 6-5) is now winless against the top two teams in the SEC, Kentucky and Florida, this season. The Gators (22-2, 11-0) remained unscathed in SEC play and extended their winning streak to 16 games. They haven’t lost since Dec. 2.

Jarnell Stokes led UT with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Jordan McRae, who scored a season-low five against Florida in Gainesville earlier this season, scored 17. Josh Richardon added 13.

But Wilbekin was the star. He scored 21 points despite fruitless 3-point shooting. He also dished six assists.

UT shot 62.5 percent in the first half and led by as much as six points with 3:51 to play before intermission. But the Gators cut that lead to one (34-31) before the halftime buzzer. They started the second half on a 9-2 run.

Ben Frederickson covers UT men’s basketball. Follow him at twitter.com/Ben_Fred

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Comments » 8

maciste54 writes:

Missed free throws dunk rebounds and loose balls. Other team coach works the refs yours doesnt. All add up to mediocrity

wigmeister writes:

Frankly, they are a better team.

twmartin21#209204 writes:

UT problems:Point guards can't score or penetrate to set up shots,Maymon can't make a lay-up or hold on to the ball,Richardson doesn't look to shoot enough,Davis can't score and I don't understand why he is playing while Reese sits on the bench,team misses free throws and FG attempts in critical situations,coach seems to substitute with only defense in mind and ignores offense.That's why they are mediocre in spite of having two excellent players in Stokes and McRae.No NCAA for Vols again.

Buttcrackhead writes:

Not a surprise...this team will get beat by 20 at Mizzu. Stick a fork in them. Was I seeing things or did Mayman basically throw the ball away every time he touched it in the second half. He cannot hold onto the ball. He is a shell of a player that he once was...I feel bad for him, but I would have set him on the bench. NIT bound...New coach next year

bricker865#1439238 writes:

Sloppy play. And instead of our team getting at least an occasional earful, we get a nose full instead (see pic above). BBB or BGM (Bring Greg Marshall).

bricker865#1439238 writes:

I wouldn't be so disappointed if this was like say, our 3rd loss of the season. Next year's team is going to be scary, and I don't mean in a good way.

underthehill writes:

Stokes again proved he can play with the best and get his points and rebounds..Fla proved they have a team that could do well in the big show..Stokes is still young..even tho he will be a first rounder if he enters the draft..it would be nice to see him return..otherwise..hard to imagine breaking even in the conference...

Chris_L75 writes:

Seconded on Davis' minutes vs. Reese. Sooner or later you have to score to win. No idea what was going on with Maymon, unless he quietly had hand surgery recently as well. Also, when the game is teetering in the balance, it's not a great idea to miss breakaway dunks.

Someone should take a poll of all D-1 schools on whether the NIT is a worthwhile event. If they say no, get rid of it. For fans of a team that is wasting this much (alleged) talent, it's just adding insult to injury when we wind up stuck there again.

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