Florida coach Mike White holding out Omar Payne, whose elbow knocked out Tennessee's John Fulkerson

Graham Hall
UF basketball writer
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Florida forward Omar Payne (5) exits the court after being ejected during the second half of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament game against Tennessee at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., Friday, March 12, 2021.

Florida sophomore forward Omar Payne was out for the team’s first-round match-up with Virginia Tech, UF’s Denver Parler confirmed to the Gainesville Sun.

Payne was ejected from the SEC Tournament quarterfinals early in the second half for a flagrant-2 foul against Tennessee’s John Fulkerson. Fulkerson suffered a concussion and facial fracture and is uncertain for Tennessee’s opener against Oregon State.

Payne started eight of 23 games and averaged 3.7 points. White declined to say if he will allow Payne to play in the second round.

“It was the right thing to do. That’s it. Omar handled it like a champ. Omar's very remorseful,” White said. "We haven't gotten there yet (about the second-round game Sunday). As we had talked about it, it's an in-house situation leading into this game."

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With Payne, a back-up in the frontcourt, unavailable, the Gators relied on junior college transfer Osayi Osifo and seldom-used center Jason Jitoboh in relief.

The latter picked up two quick fouls and didn’t score in the first half, while the former hit one of his two free-throw attempts. 

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