By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
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NASHVILLE – Kenny Boynton scored a game-high 16 points Saturday and top-seeded Florida advanced to its second Southeastern Conference Tournament final in the last three years with a 61-51 comeback win against fourth-seeded Alabama at Bridgestone Arena.
Florida (26-6) moves on to the SEC Tournament Championship Game, where it will face the winner between Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. Tip-off for the championship is slated for 1 p.m. ET Sunday on ABC. The Gators, who appeared in the tournament finals in 2011, last won the SEC Tournament in 2007.
Boynton, who was scoreless at halftime, took over the game in the second half, totaling a game-high 16 points, including a pair of three-pointers. Patric Young charted 13 points, while Mike Rosario added 10.
The Gators, who trailed by as many as 10 points (37-27) with 16:05 remaining in the game, rallied to take the lead at 38-37 with 13:07 left and never looked back.
Florida shot 44.2 percent (23-of-52) from the field in the game, including a 48 percent (12-of-25) clip in the final period. Alabama shot 45.2 percent (19-of-42) from the floor. The Gators out-rebounded the Crimson Tide 29-28.
Alabama (21-12) was led by Trevor Releford’s team-high 12 points.
All-Time Series: Alabama leads 73-62 although Florida has won the last seven meetings
In SEC Tournament Games: Alabama leads 7-6
Earlier this Season: on March 2, Florida won 64-52 in Gainesville
• It was a tightly contested first half with neither team ahead by more than four points throughout the opening stanza. Alabama shot 55 percent in the first half and went into intermission with a 28-25 lead.
• Alabama quickly pushed its lead to 37-27 early in the second half but Florida countered with a 15-0 run to take a 42-37 lead. Kenny Boynton scored 11-straight points during the Gator spurt.
• Florida gradually pulled away, leading by as many as 10 at 56-46 and the final score of 61-51.
• Alabama is 21-12.
• Alabama is 20-3 this season when getting more or the same free throw attempts than the opponent. UA is 1-9 this season, including today, when the opponent goes to the charity stripe more.
• Trevor Releford led the Tide with 12 points. He has averaged 18.4 points over the last eight games.
• Trevor Lacey and Nick Jacobs aided the Tide effort with 11 points each.
• Florida is 26-6.
• Florida limited Alabama to 51 points, the 23rd time this season that UF kept an opponent below 60 points (23-0 in those games).
• Florida made its biggest comeback of the season today, rallying from 10 points down to get the victory. The previous mark was overcoming a nine-point deficit at Georgia on Jan. 23.
• Florida did a good job getting to the rim, winning points in the paint 32-18 and fast break points 10-0.
• Florida had a season-low four turnovers.
• Kenny Boynton had a game-high 16 points, including 11 straight in the decisive 15-0 run.
• Patric Young notched 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Looking Ahead to the Championship Game:
• Florida will be making its eighth appearance in the SEC Tournament championship.
o UF is 3-4 in previous title tilts.
o UF’s last appearance was in 2011, losing to Kentucky 70-54.
o Florida’s three championships were consecutive in 2005-07, including the 2006 crown in Nashville.