The Gators improved to 8-0 in conference play yesterday with a 94-78 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers yesterday in Gainesville.
This was a game that once again showed us the importance of staying focused the entire game, as the Gators defense gave up 54 points in the second half to the Vols. The Gators offense didn't fall off in the second frame, shooting 52% from the field...however, the defense allowed the opposition to nearly score at will. This is similar to the results of the Ole Miss game a few weekends ago -- a game in which the Gators allowed the Rebels to claw back after taking a big lead into the halftime locker room.
Poor second-half defense aside, yesterday's game once again showed us how dominant this team can be on the offensive side of the ball. Al Horford had a career high 22 points, while 4 other Gators scored in double figures on the game. The surprising thing, though, is that G Lee Humphrey wasn't one of them -- giving up the honor to bench player Walter Hodge.
Hodge sparked the Gators off the bench, scoring 12 points and making up for the production lost from a poor shooting performance from Humphrey ("poor" meaning he only made 2 3-pointers). This is a great thing to watch, seeing one guy take up the slack created by an off-day for a teammate. If the Gators can find ways to continually get the excellent scoring balance, watch out. Chris Richard also came off the bench and grabbed 7 boards, another great performance from a Gators backup.
The Gators shot close to 56% on the game, another performance that only adds to the great shooting performance out of this team this season. While yesterday's game was great in the fact that the Gators beat a team that took 2 from them last season, the dropoff in defensive intensity in the second half is once again worrisome. Luckily they had the huge lead.
They won't always have the huge lead, though. Lets hope they find ways to play the entire 40 minutes in their remaining games. Blown leads are never fun.