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The latest on college sports in Florida

Florida Gators defeat Vanderbilt, will play Kentucky for SEC tournament title



Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker combined for 41 points, and Chandler Parsons added 16 and nine rebounds to help lead Florida to a 77-66 victory over Vanderbilt in Saturday's SEC tournament semifinals at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

The Gators (26-6) will play Kentucky (24-8) Sunday at 1 p.m. for the SEC tournament championship.

Walker had a stretch of nine straight points midway through the second half, and Boynton scored 10 consecutive in another stretch. Boynton had a game-high 24 and Walker added 17 in Florida’s second straight come-from-behind victory.

“In the second half we have been down the last two games, so it was square in our face that we had to come out with a lot better intensity and defend,’’ Walker said. “In the first half we got a bad habit of waiting to see how hard we got to play and we’ve got to get out of that.’’

Florida’s bench - including Scottie Wilbekin, Casey Prather and Will Yeguete - outscored Vanderbilt 13-0. Freshman center Patric Young had a career-high eight rebounds off the bench.

Florida has now defeated two SEC teams three times in one season for the first time in school history. The Gators defeated Tennessee for the third time in Friday night’s quarterfinal.

“That’s special,’’ senior forward Chandler Parsons said. “It shows how many different options we have. It definitely is a big boost for us. That’s just us following scouting very well and playing hard.’’

Kentucky will be playing for its 28th SEC tournament championship; the Gators will be playing for their fourth.

“I think it will be a really good  game,  and I don't know who I would necessarily  give the advantage to, but I think it could be a very close  game  and  should  be  a  very  good game, too,’’ said Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings, who has faced both. “Two very high quality teams. And   obviously   Kentucky doesn't have  to  play  on  the  road,  it  will  be  like  a home  game  for  them,  so  that  may  give them  a  little  bit  of  an  advantage  because they  have  been  really  good  at  home  all year, not much on the road. I think it will be a great game. It will be very well-representative of our  league  and  two  of the best, if not the two best teams, in our league.’’


[Last modified: Saturday, March 12, 2011 7:30pm]


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