After toying with the LSU Tigers Friday afternoon, the Gators men’s basketball team will have its hands full on Saturday. The number one seed in the SEC tournament is going up against a stout Alabama team.
Fourth seeded Alabama proved they are not to be taken lightly as they controlled a respectable Tennessee team on Friday. The Crimson Tide, a team many believe is on the bubble, helped their NCAA tournament chances by beating the Volunteers 58 to 48.
Florida needs to be on the look out as the Tide have plenty of go-to scorers. Leading the way is first-team all-SEC guard Trevor Relaford. The junior is averaging 15.6 points per game. Not only can he score, but he is also a strong defensive presence; his team high 61 steals was enough to garner a spot on the six man SEC All-Defensive team.
Sophomore guard Trevor Lacey is second on the team averaging 11.9 points per game. Lacey is also lethal in the passing game, leading the team in assists at 3.2 per game. Right behind Lacey is another sophomore guard in Rodney Cooper. His 10.7 points a game make him one of the three players on the team that score in double figures. He also leads the team in rebounds with 142 to date.
While those three may do all the work on paper, don’t fall asleep on the rest of the Crimson Tide. Against Tennessee, Levi Randolph lead the way with 15 big points, his 10th double-digit game of the season. Another name to look out for is forward Nick Jacobs. He is capable of going off on any given day and has scored 10+ in 11 games this season.
Florida on the other hand, just has to stay consistent. The Gators have taken a step back going just 3 and 3 to close out the regular season. Part of that could be put on senior guard Kenny Boynton. UF’s all-time leader in threes made and threes attempted cannot find the hole as of late. In the last seven games, Boynton is barely shooting over 30 percent. This includes an abysmal 1 for 7 shooting the Gators win over LSU.
For the most part, the rest of the team has been consistent. The team is finally back to full health after having reserves Casey Prather and Will Yeguete play musical chairs most of the season because of injury. As far as scoring, Florida does not lack in that department. Boynton has been the leading scorer all season, but another fellow senior, Erik Murphy, has shined as of late. He is just a fraction of a point off of Boynton’s 12.5 points per game at 12.4. Earlier this week he was named to the first-team All-SEC squad. He responded on Friday with his best offensive performance of the season with 27 points. Mike Rosario is capable of going off at any time and center Patric Young leads the team in double-doubles.
Earlier this season, Alabama came to Gainesville and held a second half lead before Florida pulled away for the win. You can hear this game live Saturday at 12:25pm on Country 103-7 The Gator.