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Gators lose in familiar fashion

Dane Bradshaw did it again.

The Tennessee junior made the winning layup against the Gators last month. And he got the winning layup Wednesday.

With 18.8 seconds left and the score tied at 72, Corey Brewer tried to inbound a pass to Al Horford, but Bradshaw stole the ball and scored. And the Vols went on to a 76-72 victory in front of 12,322 at the O'Connell Center.

"We took a chance at the end," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "I put (6-foot-10) Major Wingate in the game, and we put him on the ball. I said let's make a play. And his ball pressure was a factor. They threw it in, and then Bradshaw, of course, who else? Who else?

"It was obviously a gamble, but it paid off."

In huge dividends.

In a rematch so important even Vols women's basketball coach Pat Summitt made the trip, No. 10 Tennessee (20-4, 11-2 SEC) earned at least a tie for the SEC East title and a bye in the conference tournament and swept Florida for the first time since 1999-2000.

"We got beat by a better team with more experience," Florida coach Billy Donovan said.

For Brewer, the loss was even more painful because it was nearly identical to the game's ending in Knoxville, when his turnover led to Bradshaw's layup.

"I felt like I was going to get it in, but I should have called a timeout," said Brewer, who had 17 points, four rebounds and four assists. "I made a bad pass. I was supposed to look for Taurean (Green), but everybody was closing in."

In Brewer's defense, No. 12 Florida (22-5, 8-5) had chances to win long before that pass.

The Gators led by as many as 13 in the first half but just 40-36 at halftime. Tennessee came out strong in the second half. It went on a 13-5 run to take a 49-47 lead with 12:36 left. In the first 12 1/2 minutes of the half, Florida scored just 12 and had nine turnovers.

Tennessee led by seven with 7:25 left, but Florida rallied to tie it at 69 on Brewer's 3-pointer with 1:36 left. After Bradshaw's layup, Brewer missed a 3-pointer, and Chris Lofton's two free throws sealed it.

Tennessee shot 50 percent from the field and was 11-of-21 on 3-pointers, a key Pearl said. Lofton, who entered averaging 27.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in his past four games, was 4-of-9 on 3-pointers and had 16 points. Bradshaw had 15 and C.J. Watson 13.

Florida was 3-of-13 on 3-pointers. Joakim Noah had a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds but was struck in the face late and lost a tooth, will require stitches and might need oral surgery.

Florida is 3-4 in its past seven and has lost the past two in the waning seconds, including Saturday in overtime to Arkansas. Its five losses are by combined 22 points.

"I'm proud of the way our guys played," Donovan said. "Nobody likes to lose, but the thing for me as a coach is this is great for our team. We cannot reach our full potential before we go through what we are going through right now."'