In a game that was eerily similar to their late season matchup in early March, the outcome was the same. The Florida Gators (26-6, 15-4 SEC) were able to thwart Alabama’s hopes at knocking off the top team in the conference.
Like their previous matchup, Alabama (21-12, 12-7 SEC) had their chances but couldn’t convert. The Crimson Tide once again controlled the game throughout the first half and early into the second half, but Florida was able to outplay the Crimson Tide down the stretch.
Alabama led 28-25 at the half. A half which favored the Tide’s play style big time. A low scoring, slow developing half that gave the Tide the upper in the early going. But, the tide would turn late in the second half. An Alabama scoring drought, coupled with eleven straight points by Florida senior, Kenny Boynton, erased a 10 point lead for the Crimson Tide.
The Tide found answers in unconventional places down the stretch. Nick Jacobs once again played a big role for the Crimson Tide. He finished with 11 points and 4 rebounds off the bench. Jacobs proved to be a tough check down low for Florida’s Patric Young for most of the game. Jacobs was aided down low by Moussa Gueye who played very well on defense, especially in the first half, and gathered five rebounds.
Trevor Releford led Alabama’s scoring attack with 12 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists. Trevor Lacey was able to add 11 points and 5 rebounds.
Retin Obasohan saw increased playing time for the Tide in the absence of Andrew Steele (ankle). Obasohan provided a good change-up off the bench with his quickness and athleticism. He added 4 points and two rebounds.
Kenny Boynton led all scorers with 16 points for the Florida Gators, most of those coming in the second half. Patric Young had another impressive game finishing with 13 points and 9 rebounds. Florida’s leading scorer, Erik Murphy, was held to 6 points and 5 rebounds. Murphy had 27 points in the Gators’ rout of LSU in quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament.
With Saturday’s lost, the Crimson Tide’s NCAA Tournament outlook looks bleak. Many experts agreed that Alabama would have to run the table in the SEC Tournament to get a spot in the big dance. As it stands today, it looks like head coach Anthony Grant and the Tide are destined for their second NIT birth in four years.
The Florida Gators will move on to play the winner of Vanderbilt and Ole Miss at 12 pm CT on ABC on Sunday in the SEC Championship Game.
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