Mighty Casey: Prather’s strong play helps Florida topple Alabama
Gainesville, FL, United States (4E Sports) – Casey Prather fueled a 23-5 run over the final 10 minutes to push the Florida Gators past the Alabama Crimson Tide 64-52.
The Gators were down midway by eight points midway through the second half.
Erik Murphy led Florida (23-5, 13-3 SEC) with 15 points, Kenny Boynton added 13 and Scottie Wilbekin chipped in 11. Prather had 10 points and nine rebounds, most of them in the second half, and played relentless defense.
Florida used a 12-0 run to open up a double-digit lead early on, but started taking ill-advised shots and starting giving up baskets at every turn.
Prather, who’s been banged up all season, picked up the slack.
He already missed several games because of a concussion and a few more with a high-ankle sprain when he hurt his head vs. the Volunteers, needed stiches above his left eye. It created concern about another concussion.
“I was definitely trying to bring energy because we looked a little dead offensively and defensively,” said Prather who turned in one of his best performances in three years.
“Casey, thank God, gave us good minutes,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “If he didn’t play well, we probably would have had a hard time winning the game.”
Trevor Releford led the Alabama (19-10, 11-5) with 12 points. Trevor Lacey and Nick Jacobs added 11 points apiece.
The Tide really went cold from the field, making just two baskets after taking a 45-37 lead with 12:23 remaining.
The win kept No. 8 Florida unbeaten (14-0) at home. The Gators can secure the No. 1 seed by winning one of their remaining two games or having Kentucky lose later Saturday.