The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
SEC MEN'S TOURNAMENT - QUARTERFINAL - Bridgestone Arena - Nashville, Tennessee

Wildcats defeat Crimson Tide to return to semifinals

617 days ago
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jamal Murray scored 23 points, Alex Poythress made a career-best four 3-pointers and No. 16 Kentucky had an easy time in an 85-59 victory over Alabama on Friday night in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

Playing about 50 miles southeast of his Clarksville, Tennessee, home, Poythress put on an offensive show in his final SEC tournament with 7-of-8 shooting including 4 of 5 from long range for 20 points. It was the senior forward's third 20-point game this season and first since posting a career-best 25 at Alabama on Jan. 9.

Murray added perimeter shots as second-seeded Kentucky finished 13 of 23 from behind the arc to beat the 10th-seeded Crimson Tide (18-14) for the third time this season. The Wildcats advanced to Saturday's semifinal against sixth-seeded Georgia.

Tyler Ulis added 17 points for the Wildcats, who led by as many as 26.

Arthur Edwards had 20 points and Retin Obasohan 18, neither of which was enough for Alabama to keep pace with the hot-shooting Wildcats.

Kentucky's postseason prospects were already set, and the aim this weekend is to earn the highest possible seeding when the field is announced on Sunday. The Wildcats took an impressive first step toward being high in the bracket with 53 percent shooting from the field.

Alabama's postseason chances remain up in the air, but the Crimson Tide's second game in as many nights ended with 42 percent shooting and 13 turnovers. They were also outrebounded 32-26.

Kentucky wasn't so good at the start, making just 4 of first 11 shots and showing a little rust from having not played because of their double bye. The Wildcats regrouped to hit 10 of their final 15 first-half shots to lead 37-27 at the break and were even better from behind the arc (6 of 10), with Poythress making a couple to help them gain some distance.

The Crimson Tide meanwhile struggled more for baskets than the previous night against Mississippi, making just 10 of 26 from the field. Three-point shooting (5 of 12) provided a bright spot, and Alabama had just one fewer rebound than the Wildcats but needed big games from nearly everybody in order to pull off the upset.

Even at their best, the Tide faced an uphill battle keeping pace with Kentucky's outside game that stayed hot in the second half. Ulis made back-to-back shots before Murray added one to build a 55-37 lead, and the Wildcats were well on their way toward a semifinal appearance.

TIP-INS

Alabama: The Crimson Tide finished 9 of 25 from 3-point range.

Kentucky: One first-half possession yielded three offensive rebounds before Poythress nailed his first 3-pointer of the game to get the team going.

UP NEXT:

Alabama: Awaiting postseason announcement.

Kentucky: Faces Georgia  in Saturday's semifinal.