Fulkerson taken to hospital following Vols win over Florida in SEC tournament

Tennessee Vols

Tennessee’s John Fulkerson is attended to after being fouled by Florida’s Omar Payne in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Southeastern Conference Tournament Friday, March 12, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. Payne was ejected from the game. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee Vols basketball player John Fulkerson was taken to the hospital for observation after he took an elbow to his face from Florida’s Omar Payne during the quarterfinals of the SEC Men’s Basketball tournament.

Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said Fulkerson, a Kingsport native, was taken to get his eye checked. Payne was ejected following the play and the Vols went on to win 78-66.

Tennessee will face No. 1 seed Alabama at 1 p.m. EST.

“He took pretty two good licks right there, and I would be surprised if he plays,” Barnes said of Fulkerson.

Uros Plavsic played the majority of minutes in Fulkerson’s stead. Fulkerson finished with 8 points. Plavsic had 2 points.

Five Vols reached double figures in the game led by Santiago Vescovi’s 14 points and five assists. Yves Pons and Keon Johnson both flirted with a triple-double.

Pons scored 11 and had eight rebounds and nine blocks. Pons’ blocks set a single-game Tennessee record and tied the single-game SEC tournament record.

“He was locked in from start to finish … on both ends,” coach Barnes said. “He was really terrific.”

The senior said the injury to Fulkerson motivated the team.

“Elbowing John in the face was a dirty play,” Pons said. “It had nothing to do with basketball.”

Vescovi agreed.

“We all felt pain for John because we really care about his well-being,” he said. “That helped us a lot, just to have more motivation.”

Johnson finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

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