NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 09: Bradley Beal #23 of the Florida Gators looks to pass the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide during their quarterfinal game in the 2012 SEC Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Florida never trailed against Alabama in its 66-63 win over the Crimson Tide in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament on Friday. But the Gators never put Alabama away, either, and that makes their third date in six weeks with Kentucky on Saturday seem like a booby prize at best.
Bradley Beal led the Gators with 16 points and seven rebounds, and Erik Murphy was the only Gator to make more than three shots on his way to 15 points. The Gators made 10 of 30 threes and 16 of 19 free throws, including two by Kenny Boynton with under 10 seconds to go, making up for a poor night of shooting that saw Alabama (53.3 percent) outshoot the Gators (38.5 percent) by a tremendous margin.
Patric Young, who fouled out late in the game, was ineffective throughout after making the first basket of the night, and finished with six points and five rebounds. Erving Walker struggled from the field, but had four assists and just one turnover; the Gators, as a team, committed just five.
But Alabama's JaMychal Green had 22 points and 10 rebounds against a Florida defense that looked lethargic even in its best moments, and the Gators' chances against Anthony Davis' merry band of supremely athletic and size-rich Wildcats would seem to be rather slim.
Florida and Kentucky will meet at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be televised on ABC.