Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

No. 22 Florida Gators get past Alabama Crimson Tide 66-63 at SEC tournament

Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin tries to keep the ball away from Alabama guard Levi Randolph during the first half.

Associated Press

Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin tries to keep the ball away from Alabama guard Levi Randolph during the first half.

NEW ORLEANS — Billy Donovan is fond of describing the 3-point shot as "the great equalizer" in college basketball. Friday afternoon, it was just that for Florida.

The No. 22 Gators suffered through another dismal shooting performance but made 10 3-pointers to Alabama's three to earn a 66-63 win in the SEC tournament quarterfinals at New Orleans Arena.

The victory halted Florida's three-game losing streak.

UF (23-9) advanced to play No. 1 Kentucky (31-1) at 1 p.m. today. It will be the third meeting between the teams this season. The Wildcats won the first two by a combined 35 points, including 74-59 on Sunday.

"We're looking forward to it," Florida freshman guard Bradley Beal said, "because we get another chance at trying to get a win against them.

"And it's a great team."

Florida shot 38.5 percent (20-of-52) from the field, including 10 of 30 (33.3 percent) from 3-point range, and was outscored 38-20 in the paint.

"Ten 3s, the greatest equalizer in college basketball," Donovan said. "We made seven more than they did. That was the difference in the game."

Down 12, Alabama (21-11) went on a 16-4 run, capped by a three-point play by senior forward JaMychal Green, to tie it at 49 with 6:52 left. The teams traded baskets. Then junior guard Kenny Boynton was fouled on a 3-pointer and made three free throws to give the Gators the lead.

On Florida's next possession, sophomore guard Scottie Wilbekin was fouled while making a 3-pointer (but missed the free throw) to make it 57-51.

Trevor Lacey hit a 3-pointer with 1:05 left to pull the Tide within 64-62. Then with 20.3 seconds left, Green went to the line with a chance to tie. But he missed the second of two free throws, and Boynton hit two free throws to help seal it.

"I just wanted to knock them down," Boynton said. "I put no pressure on myself. I knew my teammates needed them, so I just knocked them down."

Lacey's 3-pointer didn't fall as time ran out for Alabama.

"At the same time we're disappointed we can't continue toward the quest for an SEC championship, I'm very proud of the effort that our guys gave," said Alabama coach Anthony Grant, a former assistant under Donovan. "I thought we had great fight in us."

Antonya English can be reached at

No. 22 Florida Gators get past Alabama Crimson Tide 66-63 at SEC tournament 03/09/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 10, 2012 12:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL Week 3: What we learned


    Take the knee … well, not NOW

     1. Photo of Roger Mooney for Times Sports.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Chris Archer's primary problem Sunday, as in much of September, was a lack of slider command. When he can't throw it where he wants, and doesn't have the confidence in the changeup to throw it often, he can't win with just his fastball.

  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. Bradenton high school senior Chasten Whitfield inspires young anglers


    MADEIRA BEACH — The kids lined up single file, snow cones in hand, a procession of sweaty, excited grade schoolers watching Chasten Whitfield throw a cast net.

    Whitfield, a senior at Bradenton Manatee, demonstrates how to throw a cast net at the FishKids tournament in Madeira Beach. She also taught knot tying.
  5. Wreck helps Kyle Busch take control of Monster Cup's ISM 300

    Auto racing

    LOUDON, N.H. — Kyle Busch saw little but billowing white smoke that engulfed the track and blinded enough drivers that it caused a tremendous wreck that notably altered the race running order.

    Kyle Busch celebrates with a burnout after his third victory of the season that earns a berth in the second round of NASCAR’s playoffs. He also has some fun with Loudon the Lobster.