3 Takeaways: Tennessee Falls 83-70 at Florida

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    Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

    Tennessee dropped to 1-2 in conference play and 8-7 overall after another decent effort turned into another tough loss.

    Here are three takeaways from the Vols’ 83-70 loss to the Gators:

    1. Vols battle, fall short again

    In what’s becoming the theme of the season so far, the Vols yet again showed that they can play toe-to-toe with just about anybody, just about anywhere. They just can’t consistently win those games.. The Vols fell to 0-5 against teams that are currently ranked, with those five losses coming by an average of 8.2 points per game.

    The loss in Gainesville was the worst of those five, and matched the largest margin of defeat for season for UT (also lost by 13 to Chattanooga). This one was a little bit closer than the scoreboard would indicate. Tennessee led, or had the game within two possessions, until the 6:59 mark of the second half when Florida (12-3, 3-0 SEC) hit a 3 to give Florida a seven-point lead. The Vols were able to claw back to within three at the 4:57 mark, but a 3-pointer by KeVaughn Allen – one of four on the night for him – pushed the lead back to six. The Vols never got closer than that, and the lead swelled to 13 at the end as UT continued to foul, much to the chagrin of bettors who took the Vols +12 in this one.

    Rick Barnes said the Vols didn’t value winning enough following the last loss to Arkansas. Saturday’s trip to the O’Dome was a tough one, but the Vols again showed that they can battle, but struggle to come up with Ws.

    2. Turnovers were costly 

    It’s tough to go on the road and beat a ranked team. It’s nearly impossible when you turn the ball over 19 times. Tennessee didn’t value the ball, and the Vols paid for it. UT was able to survive 10 turnovers in the first half, but Florida really started capitalizing on them in the season. With the Vols up 39-34 with 18:32 to go, Tennessee had a pair of costly turnovers – one from Robert Hubbs III and another from Lamonte Turner – that helped Florida erase that early second-half lead and take a 41-40 lead of its own.

    It’s tough to point the finger at one particular player. While Detrick Mostella (4) did commit the most, eight total players had at least one, while seven of those eight players had at least two. Florida, which only had 11 on the evening, turned the 19 UT turnovers into 25 points.

    3. Perimeter defense falters late

    Tennessee shot well enough from the field (50%) and from 3-point territory (42.9%) to win this game. That makes some of the late defensive breakdowns all the more painful. Florida shot a scorching 66.7% from the field and 87.5% from beyond the arc over the final 20 minutes. Allen hit four 3-pointers in the second half, including a dagger at the 1:16 mark that put the Gators up 79-68 and ended any realistic chance of Tennessee getting back in the game.

    Some of that is a credit to Florida for knocking down shots, but the communication, rotation and close-outs didn’t seem to be there from the Vols late in this one.

    Also:

    • After a slow start to the season, sophomore Admiral Schofield returned more to his freshman form, scoring a team-high 18 points and grabbing 10 points. That marked his first career double-double and the second-highest scoring output of his career.

    • Tennessee finished the evening with 22 fouls called against it, while Florida was only whistled for 16. Rick Barnes had some words for the officials at one point in the second half about the situation:

    Final stats: