The match-ups for the semifinals of the SEC men’s basketball tournament are set, and they’ll feature two teams from each conference division. Three of the teams that lost today (Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri) were – and still are – on the bubble, and they’ll have to sweat it out for a few more days until the NCAA Tournament teams are announced.
(13) Florida 80, LSU 58
After squeaking by Georgia in the second round of the tourney, the Tigers couldn’t do the same against the powerful Gators in the quarterfinals, as they lost their lead less than two minutes into the game and never regained it. LSU kept things close for the first quarter of the game or so, but UF brought their A-game and led 43-28 at the half.
Things didn’t get any better for the Tigers in the second 20 minutes of play. They trailed by as many as 35 points and allowed the Gators to pretty much do whatever they pleased. With less than a minute to go and down by more than 20 points, LSU missed a jumper, two rebounds, and two attempts at a tip-in. That pretty much sums up how well – or, not well – things went for them all day.
Erik Murphy had a career-high 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Gators. Charles Carmouche led the Tigers with 14 points, 2 rebounds, three assists, and a steal. UF outshot LSU 50.9 percent to 33.3 percent and outrebounded them 42-26.
LSU falls to 19-12 overall and was 9-9 in regular season SEC play. Florida is now 25-6 overall and went 14-4 in conference play. They’ll face off against Alabama Saturday at 1 ET. The game will be televised on ABC.
Alabama 58, Tennessee 48
The Tide may still be on the Big Dance bubble, but they kept their season alive for at least one more day as they found a way to contain the Vols both offensively and defensively. The first half of the game was close, but after going on a 9-0 run early in the period, UT did not hold a lead for the final six and a half minutes. They went into the half trailing just 31-27, though, so they were by no means out of the game.
Unfortunately for the guys from Rocky Top, they never held a lead in the entire second half, either. The Volunteers did pull within three points midway through the half, but two different attempts at a game-tying shot missed. After scoring six unanswered points, the Crimson Tide did go three minutes without scoring, but Tennessee wasn’t able to close the gap (and then went on a three minute scoreless streak of their own).
Josh Richardson had 16 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals to lead the Tigers. Nick Jacobs led the Tide with six points, 12 rebounds, an assist, and three blocks. Bama outshot UT 41.3 percent to 32.1 percent and both teams had 35 rebounds.
Tennesee drops to 20-12 overall and was 11-7 in regular season SEC play. Alabama is now 21-11 overall and went 12-6 in conference play. They’ll face off against No. 13 Florida Saturday at 1 ET. The game will be televised on ABC.