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PILOT LIGHT > LIGHTNING + ICE: Tennessee Volunteers 89, Florida Gators 86

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Photo credit: nutmeg

They were smoking. Racing up and down the court at breakneck speed. Pulling up and shooting field goals at a rate a full five percentage points better than their average. Hitting all but one of their free throw attempts. Dropping three after three after three.

And they were getting run out of the building. Yes, the Vols were electric, but the Gators, well the Gators were lightning itself. In the first half, Florida, motivated by the opportunity to shore up its invitation to the NCAA Tournament, shot 67% from the field, 90% from the free throw line, and 58% from behind the arc. In table form, courtesy of hooper:

Field Goals made
19
18
  shot
28
35
  percent
67.85714
51.42857
Free Throws made
10
3
  shot
11
4
  percent
90.90909
75
3-pointers made
7
3
  shot
12
8
  percent
58.33333
37.5

The place was crawling with cold-blooded reptiles for the first 20 minutes, and the teams went to the locker room with Florida up 55-42. When the teams returned for the second half, however, summer relapsed into winter, and alligators don't do well when it's nippy outside. Florida went cold. Frigid. Icy.

The numbers, again courtesy of hooper:

Field Goals made
9
15
  shot
19
28
  percent
47.36842
53.57143
Free Throws made
10
11
  shot
16
15
  percent
62.5
73.33333
3-pointers made
3
6
  shot
9
12
  percent
33.33333
50

Those are not bad numbers for the Gators, really, except in contrast to the way they played in the first half. But tonight, the Vols were consistent, and consistently hot beat lightning and ice.

 
Photo credit: Zelca

College Basketball Stats by StatSheet.com

The night belonged to guards JaJuan Smith and Chris Lofton. Juanny hit 9-13 from the field and 4-7 from three-point land on this way to 23 points, and Lofton went 6-11 from the field, 5-6 from the stripe, and 4-8 from the arc on his way to 21. Teardrops, Wheezy, and Pajamas all hit double figures as well. Wheezy hit a couple of key free throws down the stretch despite taking a knee to the head to get there.

All in all, it was a fantastic game for the Vols, a victory that, when combined with Mississippi State's one-point overtime loss at Vanderbilt, won Tennessee the outright SEC regular season championship for the first time in 41 years.

From the sphere:

One final order of business, if anyone finds a picture of The Glare, I want a link, even if it does make Aerobab incontinent.