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Knecht drops career-high 39 to lead No. 6 Tennessee past Florida

Eakin Howard / Getty Images Sport / Getty

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Dalton Knecht scored a career-high 39 points and had eight rebounds to lead No. 6 Tennessee past Florida 85-66 on Tuesday.

Jonas Aidoo had 19 points and a team-high 10 rebounds to help the Volunteers (13-4, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) win their 12th straight at home.

Knecht averaged 32 points in two games last week as he captured SEC Co-Player of the Week honors.

The Gators (11-6, 1-3), who haven't won in Knoxville since 2014, were led by Walter Clayton Jr. with 16 points and Riley Kugel with 12. Tyrese Samuel had 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds and Zyon Pullin scored 11.

Knecht hit 9 of 10 field goals — including three 3-pointers — and scored 22 points in the first half as Tennessee jumped to a 44-32 halftime lead. A 12-3 run midway through the half gave the Vols some breathing room. Kugel had 10 to lead the Gators in the half.

The game started two hours early because of dangerous weather conditions.


Florida: The loss to Tennessee started a stretch of tough games for the Gators. They will play what figures to be four more Quadrant 1 games, considered in the NCAA Evaluation Tool, over the next two weeks. Florida is 0-5 this season in Q1 games and 2-19 over the last two seasons.

Tennessee: The Vols are giving up eight more points a game (66.0-57.9) compared to last season, but they are scoring eight more points a game (78.7-70.8). The focus for Tennessee coach Rick Barnes has been consistency. The Vols have struggled with that all season and it continues to haunt them at different times.


Florida: The Gators have another road game Saturday night against Missouri.

Tennessee: The Vols will remain at home Saturday for a battle with Alabama.


AP college basketball: and