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Friday, March 9, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Florida 66, Alabama 63

By David Helman


NEW ORLEANS -- A look at Florida's rugged win against Alabama.

Overview: JaMychal Green made quite a difference in Alabama's SEC quarterfinal rematch with Florida, but it wasn't quite enough.

Green, who missed the teams' first meeting because of a suspension, dominated to the tune of 22 points and 10 rebounds against the Gators, but it wasn't enough for the Crimson Tide.

Unfortunately for Green, a missed free throw in the dying seconds will probably offset a fantastic performance, in his mind.

The Crimson Tide buried a 3-pointer at the first-half buzzer, cutting a five-point UF lead to 26-24. The Gators tried to pull away in the second half, building a lead that got as big as 12. But the Tide surged back behind the efforts of Green, who took 14 of the Tide's 45 shots and connected on seven.

Turning point: Green went to the free throw line with a chance to tie the game with 21 seconds left. He was superb for Alabama all day, but he connected on only the first of his two shots, leaving the Tide at a 64-63 disadvantage.

With just seconds remaining, the Tide had to foul, and Kenny Boynton hit his free throws to make it 66-63. After hitting a late 3 to bury South Carolina on Thursday, Trevor Lacey got the call again, but his shot at the buzzer clanged off the rim.

Key player: Bradley Beal carried the Gators for most of the afternoon. He led the team with 16 points and connected on 7 of 8 free throws. But Boynton stepped up in crunch time. He scored five of his 14 in the final two minutes. They were Florida's last five points.

Key stat: The Tide nearly doubled up the Gators in the paint, outscoring Florida 38-20. The Gators didn't shoot very well from downtown, but their nine total 3-pointers helped offset the lack of post production.

Miscellaneous: Alabama shot a whopping 15 percent better from the field than Florida. But the Tide turned it over 11 times to the Gators' five.

What's next: Florida gets a third game against No. 1 Kentucky in one of the semifinals. The Wildcats handled the Gators in both regular-season meetings. Alabama is most likely in the Big Dance. Now it waits to see where, and hopes there are no nasty surprises.