NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- De'Aaron Fox scored a career-high 28 points, including seven straight down the stretch, and Malik Monk added 20 to lift No. 1 seed Kentucky past Alabama 79-74 in the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinal on Saturday.
The Wildcats shot 52 percent from the floor and 69 percent from the line after missing numerous chances that left openings for the pesky Crimson Tide to stay close. But Kentucky converted chances when needed, hitting 13 of 17 free throws in the final six minutes with Fox making 5 of 7 in particular and 11 of 15 overall.
Bam Adebayo had 10 points and nine rebounds to send top-seeded Kentucky (28-5) to Sunday's championship game.
Dazon Ingram had 17 points for No. 5 seed Alabama (19-14), which outrebounded Kentucky 33-28, but couldn't get the basket when needed to overcome the Wildcats.
THE BIG PICTURE
Alabama: The Crimson Tide did everything they needed to do, controlling categories such as bench scoring (22-9) and points in the paint (46-24). For a while the SEC's top scoring defense (64.1 points) seemed headed toward keeping Kentucky in check before sending the Wildcats to the foul line.
Kentucky: Another slow start dug a 17-7 hole before the Wildcats answered with 11 straight points for the lead. Monk got out of his funk after two subpar games to shoot 6 of 14 with a pair of 3-pointers. Derek Willis added a pair of key 3s as well.
Kentucky faces No. 3 seed Arkansas in Sunday's championship at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN.