Noah, Gators grab third straight SEC title
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) – Joakim Noah scored 17 points and had five
steals as Florida blitzed Arkansas, 77-56, to win its third consecutive
Southeastern Conference Tournament title at the Georgia Dome.
Al Horford added a game high 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting for the top-seeded
Gators (29-5), who won their fourth straight game and may have earned a No. 1
seed in the upcoming NCAA tourney. Taurean Green chipped in with 10 points for
the defending National Champions.
Michael Washington had 17 points for the third-seeded Razorbacks (21-13), who
will now sweat out Selection Sunday and hope for an at-large bid to the
upcoming NCAA tourney. Sonny Weems finished with 15 points while Patrick
Beverley scored just five points and was a miserable 2-of-11 from the floor.
Florida opened up an eight-point advantage by halftime and slowly began to
pull away in the final frame. The Gators opened up the stanza with a pair of
free throws from Corey Brewer and a Horford jumper to take their first double-
digit lead of the game, 39-28, with 18:29 left.
Florida then put things away with a 18-6 run midway through the frame. Brewer
highlighted the flurry with a pair of buckets and his jumper, with 8:47 on the
clock, give the Gators a commanding 64-42 edge.
The rout was on from there. Chris Richard’s lay-in extended Florida’s lead to
28, 75-47, its largest of the game.
The Gators opened up a little breathing room by closing out the first half
strongly. Florida held a precarious 19-18 advantage after Weems hit a pair of
free throws with about 9 1/2 minutes left.
But, Lee Humphrey capped a 9-3 burst over the next four minutes with a three
to give the Gators a 28-21 lead.
Florida continued to play frontrunner, 36-28, at the intermission.
Florida now leads the all-time series 10-9…The Razorbacks won their only SEC
Tournament crown back in 2000…Florida has appeared in four straight SEC
title games…Florida also beat Arkansas for the SEC football title in the