Tennessee takes down Florida in Fulkerson’s emotional senior day

Tennessee Vols

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – In the Tennessee men’s basketball media briefing earlier this week, Kingsport-native John Fulkerson spent a good chunk of his press conference talking about his love for the University of Tennessee and for Vol Nation.

His passion and dedication to this school and this fan base was on full display in Sunday’s 65-54 win over Florida. As Fulkerson walked off the court for the final time here on Senior Day, tears streamed down his face as he waved to the crowd.

Fulkerson played part of his high school ball at Dobyns-Bennett High School and always dreamed of playing at UT. He’s been a stellar piece of the Vols team for four years, and after this season he has a decision on his hands.

The NCAA is allowing winter-sport athletes to return for another season, a decision made to give these athletes another season as they navigate this tough one through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fulkerson can choose to return for another season, but also said after the game that this was his final game playing in front of Vol nation. He said he still has not decided if he will be coming back or not.

Hear his comments and watch the highlights in the video above!

Read more in the postgame write-up from the Associated Press.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Victor Bailey Jr., John Fulkerson and Keon Johnson scored 14 points apiece and Tennessee rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat Florida 65-54 on Sunday in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Tennessee (17-7, 10-7 SEC) secured the No. 4 seed and a bye into the Friday’s quarterfinals of the conference tournament.

Fulkerson added seven rebounds and four assists and Josiah-Jordan James had eight points and 10 boards for the Volunteers.

Florida used a 13-2 run to take a 31-17 lead with five minutes left in the first half but Tennessee scored 11 of the final 13 first-half points to trim its deficit to five at the break. Florida missed seven consecutive, and 9 of 10, from the field as the Vols ripped off a 21-4 spurt — including eight points by Bailey — to make it 53-43 with 7:33 to play.

Tyree Appleby had 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting and Colin Castleton added 11 points for Florida (13-9, 9-7).

The fifth-seeded Gators play the winner between No. 12 seed Texas A&M and No. 13 seed Vanderbilt in Thursday’s second round.

After being outrebounded 18-16 in the first half, Tennessee was plus-11 on the glass in the second. Florida had just 21 points after the break, its lowest-scoring half of the season.

The Gators went into the game leading the SEC in free-throw percentage (.760, 37th NCAA), field-goal percentage (.472, 42nd NCAA) and 3-point field-goal percentage (.359, 78th NCAA). On Sunday, they shot 41.7% from the field, made 3 of 13 (23.1%) from behind the arc and hit 11 of 18 (61.1%) free throws.

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