EditorsNote: delete extraneous word ‘made’ from first graf; a handful of minor corrections elsewhere
Tyler Herro scored 20 points as fourth-ranked Kentucky won its SEC tournament opener 73-55 over Alabama in the quarterfinals on Friday night in Nashville, Tenn.
The Wildcats (27-5), the tourney’s No. 2 — and highest-remaining — seed after top-seeded LSU was upset by eighth-seeded Florida earlier Friday, had a bye through the tournament’s first two rounds. They will face No. 8 Tennessee, an 83-76 winner over Mississippi State on Friday, in the second semifinal Saturday.
The Crimson Tide, seeded 10th and a 62-57 winner against seventh-seeded Ole Miss in the second round Thursday, are 18-15.
Immanuel Quickley added 12 points for Kentucky, making all three of his 3-point attempts, and PJ Washington had 10 points and 12 rebounds. Forward Reid Travis came off the bench after missing the last five games because of a sprained knee and contributed eight points and seven rebounds.
Alex Reese came off the bench to score 15 points and Donta Hall added 14 for Alabama, which shot just 30.4 percent (17 of 56) from the field.
The Wildcats avenged one of their three SEC losses, a 77-75 setback to the Crimson Tide in the conference opener for both teams Jan. 5 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Five Wildcats contributed to their team’s first 12 points of the second half as Kentucky extended a 10-point halftime lead to 51-36 six minutes into the half.
The Tide twice got within 11 before Kentucky went up by 16 on Quickley’s 3-pointer with 4:58 left.
Alabama got within 12 twice after that, but both times Quickley answered with a 3-pointer, the last producing a 70-55 lead with 1:35 left.
The score was tied three times, the last at 9, before Kentucky scored 11 consecutive points for a 20-9 lead seven minutes into the game.
After Reese’s dunk ended Alabama’s scoring drought, the Wildcats scored six straight points to take a 26-11 lead.
Reese made back-to-back 3-pointers to pull the Crimson Tide within 28-21 with 4:49 left before halftime.
Alabama got as close as six points before Kentucky increased the lead to 39-29 at halftime.
—Field Level Media