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Florida 56, Tennessee 49

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ATLANTA — Top-ranked Florida, down by 10 points in the first half, held Tennessee to 14 points after halftime and extended its winning streak to 25 games with a 56-49 victory in the Southeastern Conference semifinals Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

Senior center Patric Young broke a 49-49 tie on a basket with 2:24 remaining and the Gators (31-2) closed out the game by making 5-of-6 free throws.

Young led Florida with 16 points and eight rebounds, senior guard Scottie Wilbekin had 14 points and junior forward Casey Prather scored 12.

Senior guard Jordan McRae had 15 points for Tennessee (21-12) and junior forward Jarnell Stokes scored 13.

Tennessee trailed for the first time in six games when Prather opened the scoring with a basket for Florida, but the Volunteers controlled most of the first half.

The lead was 10 points until Wilbekin hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to pull Florida to within 35-28 at halftime.

Wilbekin had 13 points at the break as Florida shot 54.5 percent.

Tennessee had a decided edge inside, with senior forward Maymon and Stokes, both 6 foot 8 and 260 pounds, scoring eight points each in the half.

McRae led the Volunteers, who shot 53.8 percent, with 10 first-half points.

Florida used a 10-2 run at the start to the second half to go ahead for its first lead since early in the game, 38-37. Tennessee regained the lead by scoring six straight points and led by five points midway in the second half.

However, Tennessee scored only six points the rest of the game and lost Maymon, who had 10 points and nine rebounds, with four minutes remaining when he followed a personal foul with a technical.

The Volunteers and Gators played twice in the regular season, with Florida winning, 67-41, at home on Jan. 25 and, 67-58, at Tennessee on Feb. 11 en route to going 18-0 in SEC play.

The Gators trailed 34-33 at halftime in the second game before spurting late.

NOTES: The top four seeds reached the SEC semifinals for the first time since 2005. Kentucky and Georgia, who played in the second semifinal Saturday, tied for second place during the regular season. … Tennessee had not advanced to the semifinals since 2010, when the Volunteers were routed by Kentucky, 74-45. … Florida last won the SEC tournament in 2007, the year it claimed its second straight NCAA championship. The Gators lost to Ole Miss in the SEC title game last year.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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