Alabama 68, South Carolina 63

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- We’re all about giving credit where credit’s due.

And for Alabama to fight back from a 18-point deficit in the second half Thursday and send South Carolina packing in a 68-63 SEC tournament first-round win speaks for itself.

The Crimson Tide (17-14) looked like they were toast to start the second half before clamping down on defense and heating up on offense to stage an epic comeback.

But even more epic was South Carolina’s collapse. It was a total meltdown for the Gamecocks, who never had an answer when the Crimson Tide made their charge.

South Carolina led 54-36 with 11:33 to play, but somebody forgot to tell the Gamecocks (15-16) that playing three-fourths of the game doesn't cut it come March.

It was bitter end to a brilliant career for South Carolina senior point guard Devan Downey, who didn’t have a field goal in the last 13:55 of the game. A couple of his misses didn’t even hit the rim, as Alabama dialed up its defense. Downey also took some really bad shots.

The antithesis was Alabama senior guard Mikhail Torrance, who scored 11 points in the Crimson Tide’s decisive run.

Alabama’s prize for its dramatic comeback is that it gets No. 2-ranked Kentucky on Friday in the quarterfinals.