Near the end of regulation, it looked again as if the Gators would drop a game at Tennessee.
But with late defensive stands in the face of offensive struggles and an extra period in which the Gators took control, Florida (13-3, 2-0) defeated Tennessee (10-6, 0-2) 81-75 in overtime.
Entering overtime tied at 68-68, UF scored the first six points of the frame, including an Alex Tyus steal and breakaway dunk. Tyus scored 18 points on 8-12 shooting and had seven rebounds. Since shaving his head, Tyus is averaging 10.5 ppg, 4.75 rpg and five of his 13 blocks this season. Kenny Boynton scored eight of his 17 points in overtime, as he evolves into a go-to guy for Florida. All of UF's starters carried the load, as Chandler Parsons scored 16, Erving Walker had 15, and Vernon Macklin scored 11.
The Gators shot about 50 percent from the field and from the three-point line. Unfortunately, they also shot 55 percent from the free-throw line. Tennessee also shot well, but had similar struggles at the line. If there is anything to be critical about, it would be UF's free throw shooting. But, after surviving in a hostile road environment, we can take the bad night at the line.
Florida's next game is Saturday against South Carolina (10-4, 1-0) in Gainesville.