Final: Florida Gators lose to Oral Roberts in NCAA Tournament second round

Special to Gatorsports.com

From 15 seed to the Sweet 16 for Oral Roberts after the Golden Eagles defeated No. 7 seed Florida 81-78 Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis.

Oral Roberts (18-10) advances to its first Sweet 16 on Saturday when it will face No. 3 seed Arkansas (24-10), another SEC team. The Razorbacks eliminated Texas Tech 68-66 earlier Sunday night. 

The Gators, trying for their 12th Sweet 16, fell short as the Golden Eagles made 19 of 23 shots from the free throw line the difference.

Oral Roberts 81, Florida 78

ORAL ROBERTS (18-10)

Lacis 1-5 0-0 2, Obanor 9-16 6-9 28, Abmas 6-14 12-12 26, Jurgens 4-6 0-1 9, Thompson 4-7 0-0 9, Weaver 1-6 0-0 3, Stevens 1-3 1-1 4. Totals 26-57 19-23 81.

FLORIDA (15-10)

Castleton 5-6 4-4 14, Duruji 4-6 0-0 8, Appleby 5-11 3-3 14, Locke 7-11 0-0 17, Mann 8-16 0-1 19, Lewis 0-3 0-0 0, Osifo 1-1 0-1 2, Payne 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 32-58 7-9 78.

Halftime_Florida 42-37. 3-Point Goals_Oral Roberts 10-30 (Obanor 4-7, Abmas 2-7, Jurgens 1-2, Stevens 1-2, Thompson 1-4, Weaver 1-4, Lacis 0-4), Florida 7-22 (Locke 3-7, Mann 3-8, Appleby 1-4, Lewis 0-1, Duruji 0-2). Rebounds_Oral Roberts 20 (Obanor 11), Florida 34 (Castleton 10). Assists_Oral Roberts 12 (Abmas 7), Florida 12 (Appleby 5). Total Fouls_Oral Roberts 11, Florida 19.

March Sadness:Twitter reacts to Florida Gators' upset loss to Oral Roberts

9:23 p.m. | Oral Roberts hanging around

 9:14 p.m. | Gators up at 11:49 mark

Florida forward Colin Castleton (12) passes over Oral Roberts forward Kevin Obanor (0) during the first half of a college basketball game in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Sunday, March 21, 2021 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

 8:34 p.m. | UF leads Oral Roberts at break

Florida goes up at the half, 42-37

The winner of this Round of 32 game will face Arkansas on Saturday in the Sweet 16. The Razorbacks ousted Texas Tech 68-66 in the other second-round game.

 8:30 p.m. | Duruji dunking vs. Oral Roberts

8:28 p.m. | Appleby hit again

 8:10 p.m. | Gators lead 26-23

Oral Roberts guard Max Abmas, left, drives to the basket ahead of Florida guard Noah Locke, right, during the first half of a college basketball game in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Sunday, March 21, 2021 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

 8:03 p.m. | Turnovers hurting Gators

Payne in and out of lineup.

7:49 p.m. | Mann off and gunning

 7:37 p.m. | Appleby to start vs. Oral Roberts

Florida junior guard Tyree Appleby has been cleared to play and will be in the starting line-up for UF’s second round contest with Oral Roberts, according to a statement from program spokesperson Denver Parler. Appleby had seven stitches, per CBS.

7 p.m. | Tyree Appleby's status unclear, Omar Payne suspended

Florida is hoping to have guard Florida guard Tyree Appleby available against Oral Roberts. Appleby “seems fine, seems normal” after suffering a head laceration in the opening round, but coach Mike White said Saturday he will be a game-time decision.

Appleby took an inadvertent elbow early in the second half while playing defense against Virginia Tech and ended up bleeding all over the court. He wobbled to the locker room and returned to the bench area in overtime to see the Gators pull out a 75-70 victory at Hinkle Fieldhouse over Virginia Tech. The 6-foot-1 junior finished with six points and five rebounds in 22 minutes.

White offered less information about suspended forward Omar Payne, who sat out the NCAA opener because of an “in-house situation.”

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 did not play in Tennessee’s opening-round loss to Oregon State.

White declined to say if Payne’s suspension was related to elbowing Fulkerson.

This is a developing story. Please check back for further details.