For much of Saturday evening, it looked again as if Tennessee would get every bounce and call in defeating Florida.
But the Gators kept digging and for the 14th time had a game decided by single digits or in overtime. And for the tenth time this season, Florida won, defeating the Vols 61-60 on a layup by Erving Walker and a lead block by Alex Tyus.
Florida (20-5, 9-2) was awful for much of the game. They had 17 turnovers, could not create open shots and did not score a field goal for a seven minute stretch of the second half. But UF got to the line, making 16 of 22. The Vols (15-10, 5-5) shot 49 percent, but only made 4 of 10 free throws, as UF shot 47 percent with 20 field goals.
The Gators won tonight because they were the more active team for 40 minutes. Despite being 3-9 from the field, Walker (16 points) kept attacking, earning trips to the line. That and Tyus' Billy Latsko impression is what freed him up for his winning bucket. Tyus could have put the Gators out in front with two earlier free throws and he is still a mistake away from being Patric Young's backup, but he also rallied. His steal and dunk with 4:29 left was a momentum shifter. For all the crap he deserves, Tyus had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Chandler Parsons had more turnovers (4) than points (3) and rebounds (3) as he struggled with an apparent charley horse for much of the game. But he still played 37 minutes because he is a grown-ass man. But with Parsons unable to score, UF got 12 points each from Vernon Macklin and Kenny Boynton. Scotty Wilbekin continued to make the case for more minutes with 5 points and 2 rebounds in 17 minutes.
At 9-2 in the league, UF is 2.5 games up on second place Vandy and Georgia for the SEC East. Alabama leads the West at 8-2. Florida's next game is Sunday at LSU, who has lost eight consecutive SEC games after starting the league at 2-0.