Alabama beats South Carolina to advance to SEC Tournament Semi
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Alabama men’s basketball team advanced to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament for the first time since 2013 with a 64-53 win over South Carolina on Friday afternoon at Bridgestone Arena. The win marks the first time Alabama has won two games in the SEC Tournament since the 2001-02 season when the Tide defeated Tennessee, 91-72, and South Carolina, 67-55.
Freshman Braxton Key led the Tide with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field while junior Riley Norris scored 12. Senior Bola Olaniyan had a game-high 10 rebounds.
The top two defenses in the SEC played a low-scoring first half that saw just two points scored in the first four and half minutes of play. After 20 minutes, Alabama led, 23-22, and both teams had shot under 40 percent for the half (36 percent for Alabama, 35 percent for South Carolina). The half featured four ties and four lead changes with the Tide leading by as many as five points, but never trailing by more than one. The Gamecocks went cold to end the half, not making a field goal in the final 2:44 before the break.
The teams traded the lead in the opening minutes of the second half, but with 12:20 to play, the Tide took a 38-37 lead and would never trail again in the contest. The Gamecocks pulled within one point four times as the clock wound down, but could not regain the lead. Leading 54-53 in the final 2:54 of play, Alabama began a 9-0 run to result in the final score.
Alabama will play No. 1-seed Kentucky tomorrow at noon CT in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. The contest will air on The SEC Network.