NASHVILLE, TENN. – The University of Alabama men's basketball team led No. 2 Kentucky for nearly 25 minutes, but a second-half rally allowed UK to pull away for a 73-67 win in the Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinals Friday afternoon. Senior guard Mikhail Torrance scored 20 points and sophomore forward JaMychal Green added 14 more and 11 rebounds for the Crimson Tide.
"To say it's a tough defeat would be an understatement," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "Our guys came out today and we played to win. We certainly had opportunities in the game. Unfortunately we weren't able to finish it out."
Alabama exits the SEC Tournament at 17-15 (6-10 SEC) while Kentucky improves to 30-2 (14-2 SEC).
The Crimson Tide took a five-point lead, 35-30, into the locker room at halftime thanks to 11 first-half points from Torrance. Alabama used a 12-0 run to build an 11-point lead, 19-8, midway through the first frame due in large part to steady shooting from beyond the arc, where the Tide connected on four of its first six tries.
Fueled by SEC Player of the Year John Wall's 16 second-half points, the Wildcats were able to erase the deficit thanks to an 11-2 run that featured seven straight points from Wall to put Kentucky ahead for the first time since leading 8-7.
Alabama trailed by 10 with 9:47 remaining but was able to pull to within three points at the three-minute mark and again with 1:44 left to play. With two dunks by Patrick Patterson and five free throws down the stretch from Wall, Kentucky was able to expand the lead and advance to Saturday's semifinals.
Despite losing Chris Hines' inside presence after he fouled out at the 7:26 mark, the Tide outrebounded the Wildcats 45-33. Alabama's defense held Kentucky to under 40 percent shooting in the first half, but the Wildcats responded by connecting on 50 percent (25-of-50) of its shots in the second half.
Green's double-double was his sixth of the season and 13th of his career. Freshman forward Tony Mitchell scored 10 and grabbed 12 rebounds to give him the third double-double of the season. Junior forward Justin Knox finished with 11 rebounds, four points and two assists.