Florida 64, Alabama 52
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Senior Erik Murphy led four scorers in double figures with 15 points, and No. 8 Florida made enough plays down to stretch to beat Alabama 64-52 at the O'Connell Center.
Kenny Boynton added 13 points for Florida (23-5, 13-3 SEC), which moved a step closer to an outright conference championship. Scottie Wilbekin scored 11 points and Casey Prather provided a big spark off the bench with 10 points and 9 rebounds.
Trevor Releford led Alabama (19-10, 11-5 SEC) with 12 points. Trevor Lacey and Nick Jacobs added 11 points.
Down 45-37, Florida went on a 19-2 run, which was sparked by Prather. Subbing in for struggling starter Mike Rosario, Prather scored eight of UF's 17 points during the flurry and was equally active on the defensive end.
Florida got off to another strong start. Down 8-7, the Gators went on a 12-0 run, highlighted by inside baskets from Erik Murphy, Kenny Boynton and Casey Prather. Boynton then hit 2 of 3 free throws as he was fouled on a 3-point attempt to put the Gators up 19-8.
But Alabama responded by tightening up defensively and hitting the glass. A putback from Nich Jacobs cut Florida's lead to 21-14. Levi Randolph and Trevor Lacey followed with inside baskets to trim UF's lead to 21-18.
A 3-pointer from Boynton extended UF's lead back to 27-22. But two more inside baskets from Jacobs cut UF's lead to 27-26. Patric Young then answered with a bank shot off the glass for Florida with 1:10 left in the first half to put the Gators up 29-26.
Florida shot just 40.9 percent from the floor and 22.2 percent (2 of 9) from 3-point range. Alabama outrebounded Florida 17-16 in the first half and scored six second-chance points in the first 20 minutes.
Notes: Guard Michael Frazier (concussion) and forward Will Yeguete (knee surgery) returned to action for the Gators on Saturday. ... Former Gator players Jason Williams and Chris Richard sat courtside during the game.
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