Some observations following UF’s 67-58 win at Tennessee on Tuesday:
— Here’s another look at Florida senior center Patric Young’s hustle play with 1:35 left that helped seal the win against the Vols. I admit, it’s sometimes unfairly easy to pile on Patric for his inability to hold onto rebounds or his lack of post scoring. But this season, the big fella is finally realizing he can impact the game with his athleticism and effort. On the dive, Young split two Tennessee players and was quicker to the ball than both Tennessee junior forward Jarnell Stokes and senior point guard Antonio Barton. Florida coach Billy Donovan used the word incredible three times to describe the play. It was.
— Want proof that free throws win basketball games. Florida was a stellar 77.3 percent from the line (17-12), while Tennessee was a woeful 9-17. A big momentum shift came at near the end of the first half when, with the Vols up 34-31, Stokes missed the front-end of a one-and-one. Scottie Wilbekin grabbed the rebound off the miss and went coast-to-coast with a running layin to cut Tennessee’s lead to 34-33 at halftime. If Stokes makes those two free throws, Florida likely goes into the half down 36-31. It was a big four-point swing.
– It was another roller-coaster game for senior forward Casey Prather, who is still working his way back from a sprained ankle. On the plus side, Prather made just his second 3-pointer of the season and finished with 9 points, 8 rebounds and a blocked shot. On the minus side, Prather had four turnovers and looked rattled at time dealing with Tennessee’s tight on-ball defense. With Wilbekin now playing at a high level, if the Gators can get Prather back to where he was in November and December, it would be a huge boost.