Tennessee failed to take advantage of an opportunity to make a statement at home against a dominant Florida Gator team.
No. 3 Florida forced the Vols to start off slow as guard Scottie Wilbekin caused Tennessee fits. In the first four minutes alone Wilbekin had three points, three steals and an assist. Wilbekin continued to be a thorn in Tennessee’s side and ended his night with 21 points, six assists, four steals, and three rebounds.
After the game Jordan McRae had this to say about Scottie Wilbekin, “He’s the leaders of the number three team in the country and he played like it down the stretch.”
While the Vols looked off balance for most of the night Jarnell Stokes and Jordan McRae had big nights, which should be encouraging to Tennessee fans. With a combined 37 points, the duo made several big plays that put the team in a position to win against the Gators.
Jeronne Maymon was another player who had a good night, tallying a career high in steals (four) and blocks (three).
Tennessee has every right to kick themselves after letting one slip away, but it is easy to forget that this is the same team that beat the Vols by 26 earlier in the year. The Vols are getting better, and Jarnell Stokes is showing that he can be a guy that the team can depend on as he racked up another double-double (20 points, 11 rebounds).
With seven games left in the season, Tennessee needs to finish strong if they have hopes of playing late in March. Martin said this on the future of the season, “For us it is one game at a time. That is all you can control.” Another year without a tournament birth could spell trouble for Cuonzo Martin and the coaching staff.
Edited by Zach Dennis