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Gators head coach, players talk to media after Tennessee loss

Wintery weather swept through the Eastern United States on Tuesday, causing the matchup between the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville to be moved back two hours.

With the plummeting temperatures also came a frustrating loss for the Orange and Blue, which fell by a final score of 85-66 inside Thompson-Boling Arena. It was a game in which the Gators were overmatched both on paper and on the court, resulting in a 1-3 record so far in Southeastern Conference competition and an 11-6 record overall.

Following the defeat, head coach Todd Golden along with guards Walter Clayton Jr. and Zyon Pullin spoke with the press. Take a look below at what they had to offer.

GOLDEN: Talking about Tennessee's tenacious defense

Eakin Howard/Getty Images
Eakin Howard/Getty Images

Honestly, I thought we got some opportunities at the rim, we just didn’t finish with very much physicality and we allowed their bigs to go vertical on us and meet us chest-to-chest. I thought we were attempting to draw fouls a little too much instead of just finding a way to power through and put the ball in the basket.

Again, they’re obviously a very good team, very good defensive team, and they play with an edge at home. They play with more physicality. They’re definitely a tougher team here, and I thought that showed tonight.

GOLDEN: Talking about Dalton Knecht’s career-high 39-point performance

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

He’s been doing it to everybody. We came into the game with an idea of how we’d try to turn his water off. In the first half, I thought a lot of it was in transition and broken plays, and he just didn’t let us off the hook.

Then in the second half, a little more of the same in terms of getting downhill off the ball screen and us not doing a good enough job of protecting the rim when he drove. Then he made some deep threes and some tough shots.

GOLDEN: What about Florida's defense?

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

It was a two-man band for them tonight between (Knecht) and (Jonas) Aidoo going for 58 of their 85 points. Honestly, I thought we did a decent enough job on (Zakai) Zeigler, thought we did a good job on (Santiago) Vescovi, and took away (Josiah-Jordan) James, some guys that are usually really electric and powerful guys.

But again, between Knecht and Aidoo, they were a two-man band and they just killed us tonight.

GOLDEN: On Florida's slow start and steep hill to climb

Eakin Howard/Getty Images
Eakin Howard/Getty Images

This isn’t a team you want to fall behind against. They’re very good defensively and very well-coached. They play with great intent, very disciplined. They’re not going to make mistakes and allow you to get back in the game, so getting down by 10 puts you behind the 8-ball a little bit.

I thought we fought in the second half, cut it to 10, had a possession or two to make it single digits, some broken plays and they made some threes to take it back out to 16. But just didn’t play well enough tonight.

WALTER CLAYTON JR.

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

What was the main difference between Florida and Tennessee?

Toughness. They just played harder. It’s that simple.

Talking about Tennessee’s defense dominating Florida’s offense

For sure. They deny everyone. They were being physical on defense, we just weren’t being physical on offense.

ZYON PULLIN

Eakin Howard/Getty Images
Eakin Howard/Getty Images

What was your takeaway from the game?

I think they got going early, that was the biggest thing. They made some shots early and we struggled a little bit to finish around the rim and to make plays. I think that just set the tone.

Talking about Tennessee’s defense dominating Florida’s offense

That’s definitely something they do very well. They’re very physical. Definitely, took some time to get adjusted to it. They denied a lot of our guys. We have to find ways not to let that bother us next game.

Next up

Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports
Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Florida remains on the road for its next matchup, traveling to Columbia, Missouri, to take on the Missouri Tigers on Saturday, Jan. 20. Tipoff is slated for a late 8 p.m. ET start and will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Read more

Five takeaways from Florida’s double-digit loss at Tennessee on Tuesday

PHOTOS: Highlights from Florida basketball’s loss at Tennessee

Florida falls in NET rankings after road loss at Tennessee

Gators stand pat in Basketball Power Index rankings after Vols loss

KenPom rankings drop Gators a few spots after Tennessee defeat

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire