Gators grind down Tennessee in boilover

THE NCAA Men’s has seen yet another upset, with the unseeded Florida Gators taking down the number-two Tennessee Volunteers to the tune of 13 points on Wednesday night.

The Gators played some excellent defence in the first half to stun the Volunteers with some physical, gritty play. However, Tennessee looked to take control of the match coming out of half time, getting back to its best level of play to take the lead in impressive fashion.

It was not enough as the Gators stormed home behind some excellent interior offence to produce a well-deserved victory and upend the second-best side in the nation.

One of the big catalysts for the terrific Florida performance in the second half was the work of big man Colin Castleton, who was a wrecking ball in the paint. He typically draws double teams due to his brute strength and power, but the Volunteers decided to take him one-on-one, and it failed. He finished the match with a game-high 20 points to go with nine rebounds in an outstanding and result-altering outing.

Zakai Ziegler led the way for Tennessee, producing 15 points, but struggled with the frantic nature of the Florida defence. He shot 6/19 from the field, but still played a key role in getting the Vols back into the game.

Tennessee Volunteers (54) def. by Florida Gators (67)

The Gators came out firing to start the match, producing a red hot shooting performance from the field and sending a message to the opposition. They nailed six of their first eight shots, and built a 17-4 lead on the scoreboard. The underdogs were nailing shots from all three levels, but Tennessee clamped up, as the Volunteers drew within a point.

However, the Gators nailed a few timely shots on the eve of half time, and took a six-point lead into the main break and holding a real chance of taking home the upset.

Those plans looked foiled when the Vols emerged from the change rooms with a different mindset, getting Ziegler to attack the paint and expose the Florida inside the paint. It looked to be working as Tennessee outscored the Gators by 10 to start the final half to take a stirring six-point lead.

The momentum shifted again when Castleton became the focal point of the offence to retake control of the match. He scored 11 of his side’s 14 points down the stretch to break away from the Vols and secure the boilover.

The result will make it all the more likely that the Volunteers will drop slightly in the rankings in the coming weeks, while Florida moved to 13-9 on the NCAA season.

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