NASHVILLE, TN -- The Alabama men's basketball team led top-seeded Florida by 10 points with 16 minutes to go, then the Crimson Tide went on a nearly six-minute scoring draught while the Gators scored 15 straight.
Florida pulled away for a 61-51 win in the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinals.
"Well, this was tough loss," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "Obviously our focus coming in was to try to play for an SEC Tournament championship and we fell short today. Florida, give them credit. I think they've been the best team in the league all year.
"They made the plays they needed to make today. It was very similar to the first time we played them, the run they had in the second half there from the 16-minute mark to about the 11-minute mark, probably tells the story of the game."
Junior guard Trevor Releford led the Tide with 12 points, while sophomore guard Trevor Lacey had 11 points and a team-high five boards.
Nick Jacobs added 11 points for the Crimson Tide, who dropped to 21-12 on the season.
Alabama had a 28-25 lead at halftime after shooting 55 percent (11-of-20) from the field in the opening stanza. The Tide stretched its lead to 10 points, 37-27, with 16:05 remaining.
However, Florida went on a 15-0 run, 11 of those came from UF guard Kenny Boynton, to regain the lead. Alabama was able to cut the score to four points on two difference occasions, but could not pull any closer.
"They've got some outstanding players," Grant said. "I thought Kenny Boynton really stepped up today and made some big time plays for them. Their defense really turned it up and allowed them to get out in transition and get some baskets. We were able to fight back and cut into it a little bit but didn't have enough today to finish it and obviously got to give credit to Florida for that."
The Crimson Tide finished the game shooting 45.2 percent (19-of-42) from the floor and 50 percent (6-of-12) from beyond the arc. In comparison, the Gators were 23-of-52 from the floor (44.2 percent) from the field and 3-of-17 (17.6 percent) from beyond the arc.
Florida went 12-of-18 from the free-throw line while Alabama was 7-of-12. The Crimson Tide is now 1-9 when shooting fewer free-throws than the opposition.
Boynton had all 16 of his points in the second half. Center Patric Young had 13 points and nine rebounds.
Alabama will now have to await its postseason fate, which will be announced Sunday evening.
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