Omar Payne joins growing list of players to leave Florida
Forward Omar Payne entered the transfer portal Tuesday and became the fifth player to leave coach Mike White's program since the end of the season. The 6-foot-10 Payne joined shooting guard Noah Locke, backup point guard Ques Glover and reserve forward Osayi Osifo in looking to play elsewhere next season. Star point guard and leading scorer Tre Mann entered the NBA draft with plans of hiring an agent, meaning he has no intention of returning to school for his junior season. Payne, a sophomore from Kissimmee, averaged 3.8 points and 3.2 rebounds while playing close to 16 minutes a game this season. Only Keyontae Johnson remains from Florida's 2018 class, which lost talented point guard Andrew Nembhard to Gonzaga last year and now is without Locke.
Still dancing: Gators rally late to beat Virginia Tech in tourney opener
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)The Gators are still dancing. Florida came back in the second half and edged Virginia Tech 75-70 in overtime of their NCAA tournament opener on Friday afternoon. Tre Mann knocked down a 3-pointer with 22 seconds to play in overtime to give Florida the separation it needed to escape the Hokies. Chris Castleton had a spectacular game for the Gators, leading with 19 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. That game will be shown on truTVFlorida benched sophomore forward Omar Payne for the opener.
Missouri hangs on for 1st win at Florida, 72-70
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Dru Smith scored the game-winner, banking a baseline drive reverse layup off the glass with 0.7 seconds on the clock and Missouri held on to defeat Florida 72-70 on Wednesday night for the Tigers’ first-ever win in Gainesville. Dru Smith scored 17 points and had nine assists and a season-high six steals to lead Missouri (15-7, 8-7 Southeastern Conference), Mitchell Smith scored 14 and Mark Smith 11. Tre Mann scored 21 points to lead Florida, Tyree Appleby added 12 with five assists and Noah Locke scored 11. The Gators committed 18 turnovers, leading to 25 Mizzou points, and saw a three-game win streak end. Mitchell Smith pushed the Tigers lead to 10, opening the second half with a 3-pointer.
Florida edges Kentucky 71-67 for series split
(AP Photo/James Crisp)LEXINGTON, Ky. – Tre Mann scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half and Florida pulled out a 71-67 victory over Kentucky on Saturday, winning its third straight game and avenging a blowout loss to the Wildcats. Neither team scored again until Mann's baseline jumper with 1:49 to go. Florida, which lost to Kentucky 76-58 on Jan. 9, picked up just the fifth season split in the series' history, the last coming in 1998. The win was just the 11th for Florida at Lexington versus 52 losses. Florida is home against Missouri on Wednesday before concluding its regular season at Tennessee on March 7.