Boynton propels Florida past Alabama
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Regular-season champion Florida had to battle back from a 10-point deficit early in the second half to beat Alabama 61-51 and advance to the SEC tournament title game on Sunday vs. the Vanderbilt-Ole Miss winner.
The Gators (26-6) will attempt to win the league tourney title for just the fourth time.
Florida trailed 28-25 at the half. The Crimson Tide built the margin to 37-27 with 16:05 to play. Will Yeguete hit a pair of foul shots then Kenny Boynton went on a tear — scoring the game’s next 11 points to put Florida ahead to stay.
Boynton, who finished with 16 points, had another big 3-pointer to make it 50-42 late in the game. Alabama stayed close but the Gators managed to hit some foul shots to claim the win as the Tide failed to score in the final 2:19.
It was the first time since Feb. 16 at Auburn that Boynton had scored 16 points or more.
Boynton, the school’s No. 2 all-time scorer, had failed to hit a three in his previous two tourney games dating back to last season before the hot streak.
Florida center Patric Young also played huge in the game with 13 points and nine rebounds — the boards the junior’s best effort in SEC tourney play. Mike Rosario had 10 points.
Forward Erik Murphy, who had a career-best 27 points in the quarterfinal win against LSU, was not as sharp on Saturday with just six points.
The Crimson Tide (21-12) came into the game on the NCAA Tournament bubble and hoping to lock up a berth against the league champions.
Trevor Releford paced the Tide with 12 points — eight in the second half.… [For more on Boynton scoring barrage propels Florida past Alabama, into SEC title game, click here.]