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Key, Norris propel Alabama past South Carolina

Key, Norris propel Alabama past South Carolina
Published On: Fri, Mar 10
Mar 7, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Charleston Cougars guard Canyon Barry (24) drive the ball up court against the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks during the quarterfinal round of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament at Royal Farms Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

Braxton Key scored 18 points and Riley Norris had a big second half, including two late 3-pointers, to help Alabama push past South Carolina 64-53 Friday in the SEC tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.

Norris hit two 3-pointers in the final eight minutes and finished with 12 points, helping propel the Crimson Tide into the next round of the SEC tournament and keeping their slim NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Norris scored all 12 of his points in the second half.

Alabama (19-13) will face Kentucky in Saturday's semifinal round.

South Carolina senior guard Sindarius Thornwell, the SEC Player of the Year, finished with 16 points for the Gamecocks (22-10), who are considered to be safely in the NCAA Tournament field despite having struggled down the stretch.

Sophomore guard P.J. Dozier added 14 points in the loss.

Avery Johnson Jr. knocked down a 3-pointer, and Key followed with a dunk to give Alabama its largest lead of the game at that point, 45-39 with 8:30 to play.

Alabama led 23-22 after a plodding first half dominated by defense. South Carolina got a good lift off the bench in the first half, with freshman guards Rakym Felder and Evan Hinson combining for 10 points to keep the Gamecocks close.

South Carolina hurt itself at the foul line, converting only 13 of 23 free throws, and was outrebounded 43-28. The Gamecocks shot just 36.7 percent from the field, including a 4-of-17 performance from beyond the 3-point arc.

Kentucky beat Alabama 67-58 on Feb. 11 in the teams' only meeting during the regular season. The Crimson Tide have lost seven straight games against the Wildcats, with their last win coming in January 2013.

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Name Pos
Avery Johnson Jr. G
Michael Kessens F
Shannon Hale F
Retin Obasohan G
Arthur Edwards G
Nick King F
Justin Coleman G
Riley Norris F
Jimmie Taylor F
Christian Clark F
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