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SEC MEN'S TOURNAMENT - 2ND ROUND - Bridgestone Arena - Nashville, Tennessee

Florida tops Alabama in game three

982 days ago
Associated Press
Photo: Team Coyle

Box Score | Game Notes | Photo Gallery | Florida Quotes | Alabama Quotes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Dorian Finney-Smith scored 23 points and Florida overcame a slow start to make nine 3-pointers and beat Alabama 69-61 on Thursday in the Southeastern Conference tournament.

The Gators earned a Friday quarterfinal matchup against top-ranked and unbeaten Kentucky thanks to Finney-Smith, who made 4 of 9 from long range to help them shake off an eight-point first half deficit and eventually build a double-digit lead in the second half.

No. 8 seed Florida (16-16) went on to complete a season sweep of the Crimson Tide and win its third game in the past four. Eli Carter added 11 points and Devin Robinson 10 for the Gators, who shot 43 percent and were 9 of 29 from 3-point range.

Jimmie Taylor and Levi Randolph each scored 15 points for No. 9 seed Alabama (18-14), which was close early in the second half but couldn't stop Florida's perimeter shooting.

The Crimson Tide lost Rodney Cooper to foul trouble with 3:10 left after he scored 13 points. Riley Norris also had four fouls, which limited Alabama's effectiveness in trying to rally against Florida.

Retin Obasohan added 10 for Alabama, which shot 45 percent and controlled the paint 28-18 but was only 4 of 14 from behind the arc.

The Tide started off hot, making five straight and seven of eight including consecutive 3-pointers by Cooper and Norris respectively en route to a 17-9 lead. Alabama soon led 23-15 with 10:46 left before Carter's back-to-back long-range baskets sparked the Gators' 12-2 run over 5:28.

Free throws also helped as Florida made seven of eight down the stretch with its miss becoming a blessing as the Gators got the offensive rebound and fed Finney-Smith for a 3-pointer and 33-27 lead. Cooper's two free throws left Alabama with just a four-point deficit at the break, fitting for a half in which the teams combined to make 20 of 26 at the line.

But things got tight for Cooper and `Bama after he was whistled for his fourth foul four minutes into the second half and went to the bench. Norris drew his third soon after.

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TIP-INS

Florida: Jon Horford left the game early in the second half after being shook up under the Gators' basket but returned several minutes later.

Alabama: Tide coach Anthony Grant remains winless against Florida, the only SEC school he hasn't beaten. ... Alabama also dropped its 11th straight to Florida.

UP NEXT:

Florida: Faces No. 1 Kentucky on Friday.

Alabama: Waiting and hoping for NIT bid.