HOOPS: MVP Walsh Was Big At Crunch Time

Atlanta, Ga.--Matt Walsh and David Lee were named to the SEC All-Tournament team after leading the Gators to three wins in three days concluding with a 70-53 win over Kentucky in the SEC Championship Game.

"It feels good," Walsh said. "I think that Kentucky is a great team and they've been here before. We had the attitude yesterday (Saturday) that we wanted to take down the champion. Kentucky's been the champion for a long time. I can't imagine a better feeling than beating Kentucky here in the championship."

Walsh was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament after averaging 19.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in the Gators' wins over Mississippi State, Alabama and Kentucky--three teams headed to the NCAA tournament.

No player in Atlanta was more clutch than Walsh during the tournament. The junior from Holland, Pa., nailed all six of his free throws under 20 seconds as his team held on to beat Alabama 68-62 on Saturday.

On Sunday with Kentucky on a 15-2 run and holding a 44-40 lead with all of the momentum, Walsh hit three quick threes and out-scored the Wildcats 16-9 in the final 11:30 minutes of the game.

"He ran off the screens well and got some space," said Kentucky forward Kelenna Azubuike. "He got some separation off the screens and we couldn't get to him in time. When you guard him you try to get up on him and take away the shot because he doesn't need that much space. He had a good day."

Florida Coach Billy Donovan said after the game that he was relying on Walsh to carry the load after Lee and Anthony Roberson struggled to hit shots.

"I just tried to call some plays to run Walsh off some screens and give him the options," Donovan said. "I just tried to give him some options and he did a great job of running off the screens and getting himself freed up. The threes quieted the crowd and slowed down the momentum of the game that was really shifted to Kentucky."

Walsh gave all of the credit to Lee and the rest of the Florida big men to open up the floor with their screens.

Lee, a senior leader for the Gators, averaged 13.7 points and 11 rebounds in the tournament. He had 17 boards against Kentucky.

"We proved that we're a team that can follow through when it counts," he said. "We didn't have the best shooting night every night in the tournament but we've been able to stay in games and win games because of our defense and our rebounding."

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