tiptrot.com June 24, 2018

Wenyen Gabriel leads Kentucky to SEC Tournament Final

11 March 2018, 12:56 | Susie Olson

Bubble Banter: St. Bonaventure, USC with the most on the line

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Kentucky Wildcats ATS Preview 03/10/18

Alabama is 19-15 overall.

Then, the Collin Sexton show started.

This was the third year in a row that the teams have played in the SEC Tournament. On the season, Alabama has defeated opponents by an average of 3.2 points. United Kingdom is 8-5 with this lineup. He made six of 14 shots and scored a hard-earned 21 points.

A quick footnote: Usually, I'd expect a player with Sexton's skills to play for Kentucky, not Alabama. The Wildcats are favored by four points, unchanged from the opening line.

United Kingdom went to halftime ahead 29-19. UK's leading rebounder (7.9 per game) is nursing an ankle injury. That made the lead 45-26, the largest lead of the game. And aside from being a great coach ... look, you can sit there and evaluate, but I coach against him.

How good was Sexton, who was 10 of 16 from the field, including 6 of 8 from 3-point range and a ideal 5 of 5 at the free throw line? "As you all could see, we shot the ball a lot better in the second half, and we just played with a lot more confidence". Metaphorically, it equates to the second half where the Tigers couldn't score until a layup with 9:48 remaining by Mustapha Heron cut the Alabama advantage to 59-46. United Kingdom limited Alabama to 7-for-23 shooting in the first half.

Here are the Kentucky vs Alabama game details to follow.

"It was their third game in three days", Kentucky coach John Calipari said.

Heron led Auburn with 18 points.

Which is what Oklahoma used to tell Young, who two months ago was seen as the engine of an NCAA tournament lock and a likely lottery pick in the National Basketball Association draft.

The 12 threes are a season high. For most of the season, the Tide significantly underachieved.

More impressively, the Wildcats did this without injured Jarred Vanderbilt.

United Kingdom is 12-0 this season when committing 11 or fewer miscues.

Auburn spent much of its season either in or around the Top 10 in The Associated Press poll, but the Tigers have encountered shooting slumps at times late in the season.

United Kingdom is 152-6 in the Calipari era when keeping the opponent to 63 or fewer points. Kentucky's turnover percentage was their biggest strength over Georgia. It's the best mark in a half in the Calipari era.

Alabama came into the SEC Tournament on a five-game losing streak and in danger of falling out of NCAA contention. The last of those tied the game at 42. ESPN reported that Hall would not have been available for Sunday's game had Alabama won Saturday. They never talked about just winning the game.

United Kingdom leads the Arkansas series, 31-10, and has won six in a row.

"Coach told us just not to give up, keep playing, fight through adversity", said Sexton, who finished with 31 points a day after his court-long dash and scoop at the buzzer had given the Tide a scintillating one-point win over Texas A&M. Jared Harper finished 2 of 11 with seven points.

Previously, UK had four players make 5 of 5 in a game, Ramel Bradley, Keith Bogans, Tayshaun Prince and Jamal Mashburn.

Arkansas will get another shot to win in Tampa when the SEC Tournament is played there in 2022.

Sexton was merely human, making three of eight shots in an eight-point half that saw him go scoreless in the final nine minutes. The SEC Tournament record for three-pointers is eight, which is shared by six players.

Kevin Knox was stifled with foul trouble but still managed 11 points, his 10th straight double-figure performance. He is also second on the team in scoring with 10.9 points per game. De'Aaron Fox ended past year with a 12-game streak.

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