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UF Men’s Basketball: Tennessee 65, Florida 54

Tennessee forward Yves Pons (35) shoots over contesting UF forward Omar Payne (5) during Sunday’s regular-season finale at Knoxville.

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY DENVER PARLER

Tennessee 65, Florida 54
Thompson-Boling Arena
Knoxville, Tenn.

Records: Florida 13-8 (9-7 SEC), Tennessee 17-7 (10-7 SEC)

Box Score (PDF)

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  *   Florida will be the No. 5 seed in the SEC Tournament, opening action on Thursday at approximately 2:30 p.m. Eastern against the winner of Wednesday’s Vanderbilt-Texas A&M game.
  *   The Gators have not suffered a losing record in league play in any of the past six seasons, the only SEC team and one of 10 power conference teams to do so (Duke, Creighton, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan, Oregon, Seton Hall, Villanova, Virginia). The Gators went 9-7 in SEC play despite the loss of the preseason SEC Player of the Year, Keyontae Johnson.
  *   The Gators were also without Tre Mann in Sunday’s game (migraine). Florida played both games this season vs. Tennessee shorthanded, as Colin Castleton and Scottie Lewis both missed the first meeting in Gainesville.
  *   Tyree led the Gators with 19 points, and Colin Castleton was the only other Gator in double figures at 11.

Head Coach Mike White

On what changed…
“We are an emotional team. A team that struggled with runs, positively and negatively, really all year. Not handled them great all year. I thought we got better leadership tonight from Tyree Appleby. I thought he was terrific. He held it together, it could have gotten ugly. Got off to a great start first 15 minutes of the game. Played really well – gave ourselves the chance to come in here and steal one on the road. And then, couple empty possessions, gave in defensively, weren’t as sharp in transition defense. Defending the glass really failed us. I mean, they just pounded us on the glass. Early second half we came out of the locker room and it was the same thing for the last 20 minutes of the game. Continued to fight with press and some pressure, some jumping, some activity, but our overall discipline with regard to not turning the ball over. Jump passes, two or three really, really tough shots in the second half that should not have been attempted. And then blocking out. Didn’t give us a chance down the stretch. They were tougher than us, considerably, on the interior.”

On the offensive rebounds allowed and if that’s why Alex Klatsky got in the game…
“Yeah, I mean what are you going to do. Got to block out every time the shot goes up. Every team on our schedule probably has the same principles. Might have a different piece of terminology that they use. Blocking out, defending the glass, whatever you want to call it. We either have to make sure that the guy that we’re responsible for in that moment doesn’t get the rebound and/or go get the rebound. You do both, it’s extra credit, but too many times we do neither. So, Alex Klatsky, we’re in a timeout, he’s a guy that rarely misses the block out in practice. Very disciplined, it’s important to him. In fact, I believe he went out there and had a really good block out. Asking, talking about it, film. We’ll continue swinging and maybe consider lineup stuff. I’m not sure. We knew it would be a huge factor, we gave up 18 offensive rebounds, but credit them. It’s not just us. It’s hard to block out Yves Pons. It really is, and they had great activity on the glass. Josiah-Jordan James was a big factor in there, as well.”

Tyree Appleby

On what changed…
“I would say our defensive intensity, we didn’t keep that up for the whole 40 minutes. I think we did pretty well in the first half for the first 20 minutes, but they came out and punched us in the mouth in the second half. We didn’t respond.”

On the offensive rebounds…
“That’s just one team playing harder than the other. My coaches preach to us about boxing out, hitting, going to get the rebound. We weren’t pursuing the rebound and they were.”

On the takeaways from this game…
“You know, we just need to work on keeping our intensity up and never get too comfortable. I think we played pretty well in the first half, we just have to do the same things that we do in the first half in the second half to finish out games.”