Image Credit: ESPNI
No. 23 Florida Gators basketball (13-3, 4-0 SEC) may not be getting the respect it deserves nationally, but it’s taking care of business just the same. Three days after thwarting the Tennessee Volunteers 83-70 in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Florida improved to 2-0 on the road in SEC play with a dominant 80-67 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide.
OnlyGators.com breaks down the latest win below.
It was over when … Graduate transfer guard Canyon Barry drained a triple with 1:29 to play, extending a 14-4 Gators run over five minutes and putting the visitors ahead by 10. It was the second time in three games that Barry hit such a shot, and it’s clear that he’s bounced back from a rough December. Draining 2-of-3 attempts from beyond the arc in a 13-point performance, Barry played quality basketball off the bench and therefore saw 26 minutes for Florida on Tuesday. He was a big reason why UF was able to become the first team this season to score 80+ on Bama.
Exceptional efforts: The Gators scored more than half their points (41 of 80) off the bench with redshirt freshman forward Keith Stone netting all three of his treys and making 4-of-6 shots while scoring a team-high 14 points in just 16 minutes. Outside of Stone and Barry, who combined to go 5-for-6 from deep, the rest of Florida’s roster made just 1-of-11 attempts from long range.
Significant stats: After starting the season hot at the charity stripe, Florida suffered through a couple games of sub-60 percent shooting at the line. That turned around against Tennessee (.692) and Alabama (.750) and was a major reason UF was able to stave off a couple UA comebacks. The Gators made eight more free throws (24 of 32) despite attempting the same number as the Crimson Tide in the game.
Odds and ends: Florida led by as many as 18 points late in the first half but saw that advantage completely evaporate on the back of a 30-11 Alabama run through halftime into the start of the second period … continuing a four-game stretch in which he averaged 19.3 points and drained 18-of-29 threes (.621), sophomore G KeVaughn Allen made 4-of-6 attempts from beyond the arc during an 8-of-13 shooting performance for 23 points against Tennessee; he followed that up with an atrocious 2-of-7 night from the field with just six points in 25 minutes at Alabama … Allen was not the only one to struggle Tuesday as junior F Devin Robinson (3 for 8), senior F Justin Leon (1 for 5) and senior point guard Kasey Hill (4 for 10) were all erratic, though Hill managed 13 points after hitting 5-of-6 free throws … Florida held Alabama without a field goal the final 2:48 of the game … the Gators were outrebounded (30-37) and gave up a bunch of second-chance points (10-14) but grabbed nine steals and forced 18 turnovers on the evening … there were only two ties and three lead changes in the game as Florida led for 29:25 of the contest, including most of the final six minutes
What it means: Though the Tide were 9-5 entering the game, they were undefeated in SEC play and were coming off a victory over the Gators a season ago. Florida battled through a rough game to really pull it out in the end, which shows to an improved resilience in Year 2 under head coach Mike White. This comes after Florida outscored Tennessee 51-37 in the second half over the weekend to turn a one-point deficit into a 13-point win at home. In other words, the Gators are playing exceedingly well right now, even when faced with adversity.
Up next: Florida’s busy travel schedule has it returning home for a noon tip-off against rival Georgia on Saturday in the O’Dome. The game will air live nationally on ESPN2.