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Tennessee cruises past Florida for 18th straight win, 73-61

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Round two proved to be much easier.

NCAA Basketball: Florida at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Tennessee notched their 18th straight win today in Knoxville, beating the Florida Gators ... The win pushes the Vols to a perfect 10-0 record in the SEC and 22-1 overall.

Gators double Grant early

To start the game, it was clear that Florida wasn’t planning on letting Grant Williams get going. The Gators double teamed Williams at every opportunity, forcing Grant to give up the ball. That created plenty of good looks for Tennessee early on, but none were falling in the first five minutes.

Florida’s pressure on Williams lasted throughout the first half, but he eventually starting coming free. Grant still ended up leading Tennessee in scoring tonight with 16 points.

Bowden and Schofield pick up the slack

Without Williams being able to operate offensively, it was Admiral Schofield picking up the early slack. He started his day off with a three, then attacked the basket from there. Jordan Bowden added an early three of his own, along with a nasty put back slam to establish a Tennessee lead.

Bone takes over, then exits, then returns

Tennessee built a comfortable ten point lead without Jordan Bone scoring a single point. Tennessee’s point guard didn’t stay silent for long though. Bone took over the offense with about six minutes left in the first half, driving and pulling up for a couple of bucket. He then used his speed in transition, dishing out a couple of assists to push Tennessee’s lead to 13 points.

However, Bone exited before the half ended after hitting the floor and appearing to tweak his ankle. He was taken straight to the locker room. Just a few short minutes, Bone returned to the floor.

A 9-2 Florida run at the end of the first half closed the gap for the Gators, who slashed the Tennessee lead to just six at the break.

Balanced offense extends the lead

After a physical start to the second half, Florida was hanging tough, keeping it in the single digits. Lamonte Turner gave the Vols some breathing room. Back to back three-pointers pushed the lead back out to 12. Jordan Bowden and Jordan Bone connected on a beautiful alley-oop to push the lead out to 14 points.

Florida capitalized on three straight sloppy possessions from Tennessee to cut that deficit in half with ten minutes to play. But Admiral Schofield had seen enough. Tennessee’s senior wing threw down a couple of dunks to stop the bleeding, adding in a steal for good measure. Tennessee’s lead quickly grew back to 13.

Final Numbers

Tennessee cruised late, maintaining around a 15 point advantage for the final eight minutes of the game.

Final Score: Tennessee 73, Florida 61

Bone: 10p, 5r, 5a

Williams: 16p, 6r, 3a

Schofield: 14p, 6r, 2a

Bowden: 13p, 5r, 2a

Turner: 9p, 3r, 3a (3-6 from three point range)