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Florida falls at Tennessee, will be fifth-seed in SEC Tournament

The Gators could not complete the regular season sweep of their rivals, and, in turn, miss out on a double-bye in the SEC Tournament
Credit: AP
Tennessee's Santiago Vescovi (25) gets room to move with a screen from John Fulkerson (10) on Florida's Ques Glover, lower right, during an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, March 7, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (Saul Young/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Mike White's Gators curb-stomped a then, Top-10 Tennessee Volunteers squad by 26 points in January, albeit being without starters Colin Castleton and Scottie Lewis.

On Sunday, the Gators were without leading scorer Tre Mann. 

That absence proved a bit too difficult to overcome.

Despite holding a five-point, halftime lead (and leading by as many as 12 in that first stanza), Florida shot just 41-percent from the floor and made just three three's. They scored just 21 points in the second half, while Tennessee came out of the locker room on a 15-2 run; it would be too much to overcome. Florida (13-8) dropped its regular season finale 65-54 in Knoxville.

With Mann sidelined with migraines, Tyree Appleby paced the Gators, dropping 19 points and dishing out three assists. Castleton added 11 points and six rebounds, but was hampered by four personal fouls. 

In losing to the Vols (17-7), the Gators miss out on the fourth-seed in the upcoming SEC Tournament and a double-bye -- a crucial, extra day of rest. Instead, the Gators fall to the fifth-seed, and they will face the winner of Texas A&M and Vanderbilt on Thursday afternoon on the SEC Network.