Vols again have Gators’ number
Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 7:00 pm
By BETH RUCKER
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Tennessee put together one of its toughest efforts of the season to earn a victory against one of its biggest rivals.
First-year Volunteers’ coach Cuonzo Martin finally got the defensive effort he’s been looking for from his team in a 67-56 win against No. 13 Florida on Saturday. In the process he got his first signature victory.
“It was fun to watch our guys really compete and battle,” Martin said. “I don’t think there have been too many times like that this year that we’ve played like that from a passion standpoint, playing for each other and defending the way we did.”
The win was the first by an unranked Tennessee team against a ranked Florida squad since Feb. 27, 2007, when the Vols beat the fifth-ranked Gators 86-76.
Under former coach Bruce Pearl, the Vols had won eight of nine against the Gators before Pearl finished his career with a four-game losing streak that included a three-game sweep last season. Tennessee was especially dominant against Florida at home during that stretch, winning five of six at Thompson-Boling Arena.
“You want to protect your home court,” Martin said. “Whether it’s a new coach, new team, inexperienced guys or whatever you want to call it, you want to do everything in your power to try to protect your home court.”
The Vols (8-7, 1-0) protected their home court by fighting for good shots around their own basket and contesting the Gators all over the floor on the defensive end to limit them to a season-low points total.
UT 69, Arkansas 38 (W)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Shekinna Stricklen made sure she went out in style in her last performance in her home state.
Stricklen scored 19 points, and Glory Johnson recorded her fifth straight double-double.
Published in The Messenger 1.9.12