Tennessee Volunteers guard Jordan McRae does not enjoy answering questions on his team’s NCAA tournament prospects.
McRae and the Volunteers are making enough of a statement on the floor.
McRae scored 27 points as Tennessee boosted its postseason hopes by thrashing No. 8 Florida 64-58, the Vols’ 6th sequential victory. McRae had a career-high 34 points against LSU and 23 points against Texas A&M in the 2 games leading in to this one.
”I keep saying the same answer,” McRae related. ”We won this one. We’ll try and win the next one and try and win the next one. We’re not having a look at the SEC (standings). We’re not trying to find out what seed we’re going to be. We’re just trying to do everything we can, that we will be able to control now. We cannot control the panel or our seed in the SEC.”
Jarnell Stokes had 8 points and 14 rebounds as Tennessee (17-10, 9-6 Southeastern Conference) outrebounded Florida 41-31 and won the lone regular-season meeting between these rivals. This marks the 1st time since 1964 that Florida and Tennessee aren’t facing one another twice in the regular season.
Mike Rosario scored 16 points; Patric Young added Fifteen and Casey Prather had 10 for Gators (22-5, 12-3). Florida was playing without injured forward Will Yeguette (knee) and guard Michael Frazier II (concussion).
The importance of the game brought one of the most boisterous lots of the time to Thompson-Boling Arena, and McRae energized the 19,567 fans with an early steal and dunk to open the scoring. Florida Gators quietly responded with 9 straight points and continued to lead for the majority of the first half.
But the Volunteers hung around and moved back in front just before halftime mostly due to McRae, who was 7 of 12 from the field in the 1st half, including 3 of 7 from 3-point range. NFL betting lines
Tennessee Volunteers required a big performance from McRae because Trae Golden and Stokes were not in a position to contribute as they had for most of this winning streak.
Golden, the reigning SEC player of the week, had 8 points and 2 assists. Stokes, who joined the game with 8 double-doubles in his last 9 games, played just 24 minutes while battling foul trouble.
Florida scored the first 5 points of the 2nd half to regain the lead at 37-35. When Stokes picked up his 3rd foul with 17:06 left, the Florida Gators seemed balanced to get control.
It didn’t occur.
McRae blocked a shot on one end of the court and got a dunk on the other end to tie the game with 16:34 left. Golden delivered a driving basket 40 seconds later to put the Vols back in front. The Volunteers stayed ahead the rest of the way.
Florida’s last hope faded when Tennessee’s Josh Richardson drew a charge to nullify a basket by Rosario that would have cut the Vols’ lead directly to 61-58 with 28.3 seconds remaining.
Tennessee was coming off the longest game in school history, a 93-85 victory at Texas A&M on Saturday that lasted 4 overtimes. But the Volunteers showed no evidence of fatigue and actually wore down the shorthanded Florida Gators.