Tennessee saw its season come to a close Thursday night in the Sweet 16. The Elite Eight drought will continue.

The 9-seed Florida Atlantic Owls denied the 4-seed Volunteers their first Elite Eight appearance since 2009-10, using a massive second-half run to take a double-digit lead and put the offensively-challenged Volunteers in a bind.

FAU made its free throws down the stretch to walk away with a 62-55 win and advance to the program’s first regional final in school history.

Florida Atlantic took complete control of the game after a layup from Jahmai Mashack with 12:51 to play. The Owls trailed by 6 at that point. The defensive intensity picked up, and the Owls started banging home triples.

A 20-4 run flipped the 6-point Volunteer lead into a 10-point Owl edge. FAU held a 53-43 lead with 5:48 to play. Throughout the run — from slim lead to significant deficit — the pressure on top of Tennessee was noticeable.

Michael Forrest had a pair of triples as part of a personal 8-0 spurt inside the run. Alijah Martin had another triple in the run.

FAU was firing fast and frequent from beyond the arc. They took 3s on 27 of their 50 shots, making 8 of them. Tennesse was 6-for-23 from 3 on the other end.

After exploding for a career-high 27 points in the win over Duke last Saturday, Olivier Nkamhoua couldn’t buy a shot against FAU. He finished with just 6 points on 2-of-9 shooting.

It wasn’t just Nkamhoua, though. The Vols shot 33% from the field.

And though FAU shot just 38% in the opening half, with as many turnovers (9) as made field goals, Tennessee couldn’t pull away. The Vols didn’t make a shot from the field over the final 4 minutes and took a 5-point lead into the break after leading for nearly the entire first half.

It let the Owls hang around.

When the shots started to fall and confidence flowed, FAU started to believe it could keep dancing.

Josiah-Jordan James and Jonas Aidoo were the only UT players to reach double-figures scoring. They both finished with 10 points. James had 6 boards and 2 assists while Aidoo added 7 rebounds.

For Tennessee, it’s another season ending in disappointment under coach Rick Barnes. Barnes has taken the Vols to each of the last 5 NCAA Tournaments, but he has yet to get them past the Sweet 16.

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Tennessee online sports betting officially launched on November 1, 2020, and many of the largest sportsbooks are live and operating in the volunteer state. Tennessee is only one of a handful of SEC football states with legalized sports betting.