No. 22 Florida slips by Alabama in SEC quarterfinalsMar 10, 2012 - 12:26 AM New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Kenny Boynton drained two free throws with 9.8 seconds remaining to send the 22nd-ranked Florida Gators to a 66-63 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Bradley Beal had 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Florida (23-9), which squandered a 12-point second-half lead. Erik Murphy posted 15 points and Boynton finished with 14.
The Gators snapped a three-game losing streak that caused them to fall to the fourth seed in the tournament. Up next for Florida is a matchup with top- ranked Kentucky in Saturday's semifinals.
"I think we always play with confidence, and I don't think that's a problem for us," Murphy said. "If we continue to defend and make shots, I think we can beat anybody. We just got to play and stay together."
JaMychal Green scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to pace the fifth- seeded Crimson Tide (21-11), but missed a critical free throw that could have tied the game late in regulation.
Ahead 26-24 at halftime, the Gators' lead ballooned to 45-33 when Murphy converted a pair of foul shots with just under 13 minutes remaining.
But Alabama responded by orchestrating an 18-6 run over the next seven minutes, tying the game at 51 on a Nick Jacobs bucket. Boynton answered by hitting a trio of free throws, then Scottie Wilbekin knocked down a trey for Florida.
The lead was trimmed to 64-62 as Trevor Lacey buried a three-pointer with about 60 seconds left. After Erving Walker slipped in the lane, resulting in a traveling violation, Green was fouled on a drive to the basket with 20.3 seconds to play.
Green made the first attempt before missing the second -- his lone miscue in nine trips to the foul line. Beal secured the rebound and the Crimson Tide wound up fouling Boynton, who put the Gators up three.
Alabama had one last chance to force overtime, but Lacey's bid from beyond the arc clanked off the front of the rim.
"Very proud of the effort that our guys gave today. I thought we had great fight in us," said Alabama head coach Anthony Grant.
Florida made 10-of-30 three-pointers...Murphy added three blocks...Trevor Releford had 12 points for Alabama, while Lacey scored 11...The Crimson Tide defeated South Carolina on Thursday.
- ALABAMA: 63
Mar 9 5:35 PM
- ALABAMA: 24
Mar 9 4:18 PM
- ALABAMA: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Mar 9 3:33 PM
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