Gators win first SEC title since 2007 as No. 14 Florida chomps Alabama 78-51 on Senior Night

By Adam Silverstein
March 1, 2011

It took them four years of scratching and clawing, but on Senior Night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL, the No. 14 Florida Gators (23-6, 12-3 SEC) won at least a share of the Southeastern Conference regular season title for the first time since 2007 by thrashing the Alabama Crimson Tide (19-10, 11-4 SEC) 78-51.

Fittingly enough, it was Florida’s three seniors – redshirt center Vernon Macklin and forwards Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus – who led the way for the Gators’ romp. The trio combined to score 50 of UF’s 78 team points with Macklin and Parsons each accounting for 19. Macklin also led Florida with a game-high 11 rebounds; Tyus scored 12 and gave a sterling effort on the glass with nine boards.

The Gators played with passion and intensity the entire game, but one would not get that impression by looking at the first half box score. Florida started the game 3-for-19 from the field and 0-for-10 from downtown but led Alabama nearly the entire first half.

UF closed the half with back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore guard Kenny Boynton to knot it up at 30 even though they finished 11-of-30 from the floor, 2-of-12 from three and 6-of-12 from the free throw line. UA shot the ball better but had eight fewer attempts due to turning the ball over 10 times.

Coming out of the break, the Gators started hot with a 7-2 run to go up five. After some back-and-forth action, Florida put their foot on the gas and refused to let up. UF exploded on a 28-6 run over almost 10 minutes that included a flurry of three-pointers from Boynton, Parsons and junior point guard Erving Walker.

The Gators ended up hitting twice as many shots as the Crimson Tide in the second half (18-9), went 18-for-26 overall in the later portion of the game and took a game-high 27-point lead in the final few minutes of action.

Florida head coach Billy Donovan pulled Macklin and Parsons to standing ovations with 1:23 to go and called a timeout for Tyus to leave the court with a minute left. He then substituted redshirt junior F Adam Allen, who had not stepped on the court in three years and is retiring after the season, to run out the final 25 seconds of the clock.

Boynton joined the seniors with a stellar offensive effort including 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc to go along with six assists. Walker added eight points and seven dimes even though he did not hit his first shot until well into the second half.

Guard Trevor Releford led Alabama in scoring with 17 points, while star Fs JaMychael Green and Tony Mitchell combined for 24 points and 17 rebounds (11 offensive).

UF hopes to keep the SEC title to themselves but first must face No. 20/21 Vanderbilt on the road Saturday at 6 p.m. The game will air live on ESPN. UA will also head on the road to face Georgia on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

24 Comments

  1. Basshole says:

    Great win, Gators!

  2. jay d says:

    I refuse to bash tyus on senior day after winning a championship & wish him all the best in the future because we all know it won’t be playing basketball at the next level…..ohhh darnit! I broke my promise….hope parsons and macklin look this good come tourney time…boyton is getting hot at the right time…not too worried about walker’s 8 points 2night cause that kid is a warrior..Donavan keeps showing gator nation that he still has it!!…it has been a lond 3.5-4 years but its worth every bit of growing pains to reach this point…how bout Adan allens rebound! That was a hollywood ending if I ever saw one!

    • Gatorbuc15 says:

      Yeah that was great to see Adam out on the floor. The fact that he got a rebound was icing on the cake. I’m really happy for him.

      • SC Gator says:

        Hours later and I still have a smile on my face from that. That’s the upside to dominating… getting those Hallmark moments for guys like Allen instead of having all the starters in fighting for a win.

    • Ken says:

      Adam was on the court and got a board? wow! all i could think of through the second half as we led is wishing he were suited up and could be out on the court on senior day, even if he were hobbling down the court in the las tminute. I didn’t realize he was and got in, ESPN didnt say anything about it, and I just assumed he was on the bench rooting the team again. I like that even better than the win, shows the class not only of Adam, but of Billy to give him one last hurrah after all his knee issues!

  3. g8ter27 says:

    Wow, what a way to go out seniors! Great job!

  4. Joe says:

    Billy has got to be SEC Coach of the Year. There is no way they can give it to anybody else. Congrats Gators. Way to ruin a great night Sully!

    • Ken says:

      he should have been SEC COY about 3 times already, other coaches vote on it, a lot of jealousy I think, he has deserved in several times, especially 2000 and 2006

      • Gatorgrad79 says:

        The very idea that Coach D did not win SEC COY in either of the national Championship years is PROOF that it is a petty vote by jealous competitors. (Especially the first NC when he took a team of relative unknowns who were not expected to go deep in the NCAA tourney, to the title). If Foley was fair ,and I think he is, I hope Coach got paid any bonus he would have earned for that award anyway!

        • scooterp says:

          It seems like you really have to suck for a while, before being named COY. So, it may never happen.

  5. 305gator says:

    To the Seniors, yall had a tough act to follow but this year showed Gator Nation that you are champs!

    Billy’s first SEC coach of the year award?

  6. Gatorbuc15 says:

    That was a complete and utter beating they put on Alabama tonight. Parsons, Macklin, and Tyus laid the hammer down on the Tide! They made sure they weren’t gonna lose their last home game.
    Congrats to all the Seniors.

  7. GatorsFanLA says:

    Just finished watching the game off of my DVR, even though I knew we won, it was still fun to watch!

    Go Gators!

  8. Ken says:

    While a lot don’t think RPI means much, tonight shows what an RPI of 12 vs. an RPI of 96 is…

  9. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Super night Gators! Now FINISH THE JOB and stomp the dawgs!!!

  10. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Adam – on another note – what happened to the BaseBall team against fsu? Was their pitching that good, or were our bats just not hot?

  11. John S says:

    You don’t get that many story book games, I will remember this one for a long time. I’m very proud of this team. Playing in the east they were certainly worthy of the SEC championship regardless of the outcome, but to take it at the end of the game was impressive. This team has reached it’s potential.

    Billy does deserve coach of the year, but I think the coaches vote for the young up and coming guy who’s team played well with lesser talent, Helps them keep their jobs the next year when they go 15-15.

    Great job gators, thank you seniors.

  12. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    Loved seeing Parsons finish with such a great game!!!! Congrats to the entire team for playing great team ball this year….a lot of tough close games they gutted out!!!! The new found range from Boyton is a welcome surprise!!!

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