Despite an impressive performance by JaMychal Green in what proved to be his final SEC Tournament game, the fifth-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide fell just short of the fourth-seeded Florida Gators Friday afternoon in their second round meeting in New Orleans. The loss ended the Tide’s SEC Tournament run, while the Gators advanced to the third round to face the Kentucky Wildcats.
Green had a game-high 22 points to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds. It is the 27th career double-double for the senior forward, the most among active players in the SEC. Green also led the Tide with 4 assists. The Montgomery native had a shot to tie the ballgame from the free throw line with 20 seconds left and the Tide trailing 64-62. He missed his second shot however, and the Gators put the Tide away with two made free throws in the last 10 seconds. Freshman guard Trevor Lacey, who had 11 points, missed a last second three point shot as time expired. Sophomore guard Trevor Releford had 12 points and three assists for the Tide while also grabbing his conference leading 63rd steal of the year.
Tide coach Anthony Grant, who was an assistant at Florida for 10 years under coach Billy Donovan, had positive things to say about both teams' performances Friday.
"I have to start off by giving Florida credit," Grant said. "A great game by them. They really made the plays they needed to make to be able to win the game. At the same time, we're disappointed we can't continue toward the quest for an SEC Championship. I'm very proud of the effort our guys gave today. I thought we had great fight in us."
Florida, who was led by Bradley Beal and his 16 points, shot 30% from the three point line, which is actually below their season average. However, when you throw up 30 three point shot attempts, only making 10 of them is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when your opponent only makes 3 the entire game. Grant was quick to point out after the game that the Tide's inability to consistently hit the three-pointer hurt them against the Gators.
"The difference in the game was the three-point line," Grant added. "Florida was able to make 10 threes, and we knew coming into the game that would be key. They had guys step up, make some contested ones. It was very difficult from a defensive standpoint to contain them. We had our opportunities, and like told the guys in the locker room after the game, as a coach that's all you can ask for."
Now that the Tide's SEC Tournament run has ended, they will sit back and watch where they will be going for the first rounds of the NCAA Tournament. This will be the Tide's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006.