Knoxville, TN – Fresh off the longest game in school history, the Tennessee Volunteers showed no signs of heavy legs in their 64-58 victory over the eighth-ranked Florida Gators on Tuesday.
Jordan McRae had 27 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks for the Volunteers (17-10, 9-6 SEC), who needed four overtimes on Saturday to beat Texas A&M.
Jarnell Stokes added eight points and 14 boards for the Tennessee, which has won six in a row overall. Trae Golden also had eight points.
"It just proves that we're a good team and that we can beat a quality opponent, like Florida," McRae said. "Florida is probably, obviously one of the best teams in the country, ranked top ten, so it's a big win for us, a statement win."
Mike Rosario and Patric Young ended with 16 and 15 points, respectively, for the Gators (22-5, 12-3), who have lost two of three to see their lead in the SEC shrink to one game over Alabama.
Tennessee has won three straight games against Florida to extend its lead in the all-time series to 72-52. The Vols also have a convincing advantage over the Gators in Knoxville (44-15).
Stokes' three-point play with 54.5 seconds left gave Tennessee a 61-54 lead. Young responded with a slam to cut the gap to five.
The Gators got the ball back after Golden turned the ball over. The possession didn't last long as Rosario was called for an offensive foul.
Golden went 1-of-2 from the line to make it 62-56 with 25.6 seconds remaining. Scottie Wilbekin responded with a jumper to make it a six-point game, but McRae made two free throws to seal Tennessee's victory.
"I just tried to break momentum a little bit because I thought we had couple of plays were we didn't get stops, three or four plays in a row," Florida coach Billy Donovan said on going to the zone defense in the second half. "I thought the zone really helped us because we got some misses and got on the break and cut into the lead a little bit."
Florida started the game on a 9-2 run and led for a majority of the first half. However, Tennessee scored the final seven points of the frame to take a 35-32 lead into the locker room.
Holding a 51-48 lead with 9:55 to play, the Volunteers went on a 7-2 spurt to create some distance. Stokes' free throw made it a 58-50 contest with 4:02 remaining.
This season marks the first time since 1964 that Florida and Tennessee will not play a home-and-home series ... Tennessee improved to 12-3 at home this season.