Florida Tennessee Basketball

Tennessee's Santiago Vescovi shoots a 3-point shot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Santiago Vescovi scored 23 points and No. 18 Tennessee rallied from a 12-point deficit to beat Florida 78-71 on Wednesday night.

Vescovi connected on 5 of 8 3-pointers. Kennedy Chandler added 17 points, Zakai Zeigler had 11 and Josiah-Jordan James scored all nine of his points in the second half for the Volunteers (14-5, 5-3 Southeastern Conference).

Florida (12-8, 3-5), playing its third game in five days, was led by Anthony Duruji and Tyree Appleby with 16 points each. Phlandrous Fleming Jr. scored 11 points and Myreon Jones added 10.

Florida had a 15-0 run in the first half when Tennessee went more than six minutes without scoring. The Gators twice led by a dozen points before Tennessee closed within 42-34 at halftime. The Vols had 12 turnovers in the first half but had just three in the second half.

Florida maintained the lead until James' 3-pointer tied it at 55 with 9:32 remaining.

BIG PICTURE

Florida: The Gators played at Ole Miss on Monday to make up a game postponed by COVID-19. Wednesday's game was their third in five days in three cities. Florida has been without its leading scorer, Colin Castleton (15.4 points per game), during the grueling stretch. The 6-foot-11 player suffered a shoulder injury in practice on Jan. 18.

Tennessee: The Vols are unbeaten in 11 games at home this season and have a 12-game winning streak dating back to last season. ... Tennessee is averaging 16,789 in attendance, fifth in the country. ... Chandler's 2.29 steals per game ranks second among true freshmen nationally, and he's third among freshmen in assists at 4.9 per game. ... Tennessee athletic director Danny White is the younger brother of Florida coach Mike White.

UP NEXT

Florida: Hosts Oklahoma State on Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Tennessee: At Texas on Saturday. Volunteers coach Rick Barnes won 402 games in 17 seasons with the Longhorns.