Tennessee 86 #5 Florida 76On Saturday, the Florida Gators lost to lowly LSU. Last night in Knoxville, evidence that the reigning national champions were in the throes of a late-season slump surfaced as they lost an important game to surging Tennessee. Against LSU, the Gators couldn't find any offense. Against the Vols, they disregarded defense, allowing Tennessee to hit 58% of their shots, open a 19-point lead at the half and hold off a Florida rally late in the game. Florida has also lost their shooting touch from beyond the arc. They hit only 6 of 21 attempts last night after a 2.17 performance at LSU.
Chris Lofton led the Vols with 21 points, but the bigger story was the lack of production from some of the Gators' leading scorers, Joakim Noah in particular. Against the Vols, Noah scored a mere 8 points, following his 4 point game at LSU. Taurean Green scored just 6 at LSU and 9 last night. Lee Humphrey had 5 points against LSU and 9 against the Vols. Those three players average 36 points per game combined. Over the last two losses, 20.5.
Whatever is ailing the Gators, it became Tennessee's gain as the Volunteers improved to 9-6 in the SEC East and 21-9 overall, having won 6 of their last 7. Both teams close out the regular season on Saturday. Tennessee is at Georgia, while the Gators host Kentucky.
The SEC Men's Basketball Tournament begins Thursday, March 8 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and concludes on Sunday, March 11.
#12 Pittsburgh 80 West Virginia 66 - The Pitt Panthers regrouped after their weekend loss at Georgetown and took care of business at home with a decisive win over the Mountaineers. Pitt regained a share of first place as Georgetown lost at Syracuse on Monday. West Virginia, however, saw their hopes of getting an invitation to the NCAA Tournament slipping away as they lost for the 3rd time in their last 4 outings. The Mountaineers fell into a tie with DePaul at 8-7, good for 7th place in the conference. West Va. has only a one quality win on their resume (UCLA), so they'll have to win their season finale against Cincinnati and perform well in next week's Big East Tournament.
BYU 62 #25 Air Force 58 - The BYU Cougars ended Air Force's 30-game home win streak and clinched at least a tie for the Mountain West championship. The Cougars can win the title outright with a win in their final regular season game, at home - where they own the nation's longest home win streak, 30 straight - against Utah. At 12-3, BYU currently leads UNLV by 1/2-game. The Runnin' Rebels, winners of 9 of their last 11, play at New Mexico on Wednesday and close out the regular season hosting Colorado St. on Saturday.
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