Fastbreak: Dorian Finney-Smith helps Florida scrape past Alabama 52-50

The Florida Gators‘ season was not saved on Tuesday night, but Florida (11-9, 4-3 SEC) did avoid blowing yet another double-digit lead as it inched its way past the Alabama Crimson Tide (13-7, 3-4 SEC) in the final seconds of the contest to pull out a 52-50 win at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The Gators, losers of three-straight games, avoided dropping four contests in a row for the first time since 2003-04 as head coach Billy Donovan improved to 10-0 all-time against the Crimson Tide. breaks down Tuesday’s action with 10 quick-hitters:

It was over when: Alabama erased a five-point Florida lead as Ricky Tarrant drained a three (giving him 12 points in the half) with two minutes to play. Still tied with less than 30 seconds left, Gators redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith received a pass beyond the arc, pump faked and drove the lane to finish with a hammer dunk, putting UF up 52-50 with 22 seconds to play. It wound up being the game-winning basket for the Gators, as Finney-Smith delivered a block at the other end to negate a shot attempt and conclude the contest. “It was a little anger, I struggled tonight, but my teammates did a good job staying together when adversity came,” Finney-Smith told ESPN after the game. Added Donovan: “I thought he had a pretty decent look to take a three, it was probably a smart decision to drive it, obviously with the way it finished up. … It was good to see him go to the rim strong like that.”

Continue Reading » Fastbreak: Dorian Finney-Smith helps Florida scrape past Alabama 52-50

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Gameday: Florida Gators at Alabama Crimson Tide – Donovan struggling with inconsistent team

Location: Coleman Coliseum – Tuscaloosa, Alabama [Capacity: 15,383]
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN (Brad Nessler, Sean Farnham, Shannon Spake)
Streaming Video: | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 92/191 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Anthony Grant
Record: 10-9 (3-3 SEC) Record: 13-6 (2-3 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: Florida -1.5


The Gators are not a good team losing games, they’re a floundering group of players still trying to find their footing 19 games into the 2014-15 regular season. This is not opinion, it is fact, and it is Donovan’s unwavering belief, too.

To a similar point, Florida has not played well for 40 minutes in quite a while. It may put together some solid 30-, 20- or 10-minute stretches, but the Gators getting the most out of their abilities for 40 minutes? That is not happening.

“This group is never ‘all right.’ Ever. Ever. They’re not. They’re ‘all right’ when I can see them do it day in and day out. And they really, really struggle in that area. They really, really struggle,” Donovan said on Monday.

Continue Reading » Gameday: Florida Gators at Alabama Crimson Tide – Donovan struggling with inconsistent team

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The Fastbreak: No. 6 Florida beats Alabama 68-62

The No. 6 Florida Gators (16-2, 5-0 SEC) never trailed on Thursday evening , walking out of the Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, AL with a 68-62 road victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide (8-10, 2-3 SEC)

Florida improved to 8-2 in single-digit decisions this season and ended Alabama’s 14-game home winning streak in the process.

The Gators won their 10th-straight game and picked up a win for the 15th time in their last 16 contests. breaks it down with seven quick-hitters:

It was over when: Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin drained two free throws with 1:54 remaining, extending Florida’s lead to nine points – one short of a game-high. He then connected on two more with 25.9 seconds to go, helping UF keep a three-basket lead. Wilbekin finished with 10 points on 2-of-8 shooting with seven of his attempts and both of his makes coming from downtown.

Prominent player: The Gators decided to shoot over the top of the Crimson Tide’s zone, so sophomore guard Michael Frazier took even more threes than normal. His night ended with a team-high 18 points on 5-of-13 shooting (all from beyond the arc), three assists and two rebounds.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.
Continue Reading » The Fastbreak: No. 6 Florida beats Alabama 68-62

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Florida-Alabama preview: Donovan talks status of Walker, Grant, three-point defense

Location: Coleman Coliseum – Tuscaloosa, AL [Capacity: 15,383]
Date/Time: Thursday at 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN2 (Rece Davis, Bob Knight)
SiriusXM: 85 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

href=”” target=”_blank”>Roster

| Schedule

Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Anthony Grant
Record: 15-2 (4-0 SEC) Record: 8-9 (2-2 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -5.5 | O/U: 123.5


» Alabama actually leads Florida 73-62 in the all-time series, but the Gators boast a 19-5 record under Donovan. UF has won seven-straight against UA and nine of the last 10 games in the series. However, the Gators are 17-47 on the road against the Crimson Tide (5-3 under Donovan) with three consecutive victories.
» Florida is on a nine -game winning streak and has won 14 of its last 15 games.
» Donovan is 12-2 against his former assistants, 6-0 going head-to-head with Grant.
» The Gators are 67-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» Florida is 7-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. UF is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» The Gators defeated top-15 teams in consecutive games for the fourth time in program history and first time ever in non-conference regular season play.
» Florida is 2-2 against ranked opponents this season with both losses coming in true road games and the victories occurring in a home contest and neutral-site game.
» The Gators are 3-2 in true road games this season.
» UF has used seven different starting lineups in 17 games.

Continue Reading » Florida-Alabama preview: Donovan talks status of Walker, Grant, three-point defense

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No. 12 Florida starts slow, powers past Alabama

Looking to rebound from consecutive losses and fight for a road victory despite being down two primary reserves, the No. 12/14 Florida Gators (20-6, 8-3 SEC) reached 20 wins for the 14th consecutive season with a 61-52 defeat of the Alabama Crimson Tide (16-9, 5-6 SEC) at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, AL on Valentine’s Day.

It was a tale of two halves for Florida and Alabama on Tuesday night.

The Gators shot just 30.8 percent from the field and 25 percent (3-of-12) from three in the first half but turned things around in the latter portion of the game, hitting 50 percent of their field goals and 33.3 percent of their treys in the second half. Conversely, the Crimson Tide shot 58.8 percent from the floor and 60 percent from beyond the arc to start but made just 28.6 percent and nine percent (1-of-11) of their attempts, respectively, in the final 20 minutes.

Both teams opened the game playing sloppily with badly missed baskets and an abundance of turnovers. However, Alabama got things under control first and used a 9-0 run (along with a 5:36 scoring drought for Florida) to take a 20-16 lead in the first half. The Gators answered by outscoring the Crimson Tide 10-6 on the way to the halftime buzzer with a three-pointer by junior forward Erik Murphy tying the contest at 26.

Florida came out of the break with an explosive scoring barrage as the Gators netted 16-straight points as part of a 19-0 run dating back to 1:34 remaining in the first half. Alabama scored just two points in the first nine minutes of the second half with the Crimson Tide starting 0-for-10 from the field.

Picking up his fourth foul with 10:18 left in the game, Florida sophomore center Patric Young was forced to take a seat even though he was leading the Gators with 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting at the time. Alabama scored four quick points and got the home crowd energized by attacking the paint, but the Crimson Tide was soon silenced by Murphy’s fourth trey of the contest.

Alabama did not get within double digits of Florida again until the final 30 seconds as the Gators maintained their energy level and gutted out a much-needed road victory.

Florida got its biggest advantage in the turnover margin, forcing 18 Alabama miscues and converting those additional possessions into 24 points. The Gators outscored the Crimson Tide 26-22 in the paint but were outscored 0-32 off the bench.

UF did, however, have 13 assists on 21 made baskets including seven from senior point guard Erving Walker, who passed Ronnie Montgomery for No. 1 all-time on Florida’s career assists list (505).

Complimenting Young’s solid game in the paint, Murphy and freshman guard Bradley Beal each scored 14 points for the Gators with the youngster adding a team-high eight rebounds and three dimes to his total. Murphy was an outstanding 4-of-8 from downtown and grabbed five boards of his own.

Guard Andrew Steele, one of two Alabama players returning from suspension on the decision of head coach Anthony Grant, led the Crimson Tide with 11 points while bringing down five rebounds and dishing three assists on the evening.

Both teams were without a pair of important players for Tuesday’s game. Florida had sophomore F Will Yeguete (concussion) and redshirt junior G Mike Rosario (hip pointer) sidelined with injures, while Alabama F JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell – the team’s top two scorers and rebounders – were out on indefinite suspension.

The Gators will look to continue their winning ways Saturday when they travel to Arkansas for their second of four road contests in the next five games. The two teams will tip off at 6 p.m. live on ESPN2.

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Walker floats Gators to 66-65 win over Tide

It took senior forward Dan Werner strongly batting away an in bounds toss with 3.5 seconds remaining on the clock to propel the Florida Gators (16-6, 5-3 SEC) to a 66-65 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide (13-9, 3-5 SEC) on the road at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, AL.

Though Werner made a heads-up play in the final seconds, he preceded it with a major mistake that could have cost his team the game. The Gators were only up four with 1:09 remaining in the game when he inexplicably fouled Crimson Tide guard Anthony Brock to allow Alabama to continue its 9-2 run and cut Florida’s lead to one. A runner by G Mikhail Torrance gave the Tide a 65-64 lead with only 44 seconds left, but a clutch floater by Gators sophomore point guard Erving Walker with nine tickets left on the clock ended up being the game-winning basket.

Read the rest of OGGOA’s Florida at Alabama game story after the jump!
Continue Reading » Walker floats Gators to 66-65 win over Tide

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Gameday: Florida Gators at Alabama Crimson Tide

Location: Coleman Coliseum – Tuscaloosa, AL [Capacity: 15,316]
Time: 7:00 p.m. (EST)

Online: ESPN360

Florida Gators Alabama Crimson Tide
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Anthony Grant
Record: 15-6, 4-3 SEC Record: 13-8, 3-4 SEC
Division: SEC East Division: SEC West
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +2.5, O/U 128.5

-The dynamic backcourt of…sophomore point guard Erving Walker and freshman guard Kenny Boynton who are averaging 33.7 points and 8.4 assists per game in SEC play this season.
– Speaking of Walker and Boynton…they have hit 40 of the Gators’ 49 treys in SEC play, and Walker is shooting 55.8 percent (24-of-43) from downtown in conference action.
– Junior forward Alex Tyus…who is dominating the front court, averaging 15.2 points and 7.4 rebounds over the last 12 contests. He has hit double figures in 12 straight games and scored 15+ in seven of those 12.
– Double-digit scoring by Vernon Macklin…Florida is 10-1 when the redshirt junior transfer center does so.
– Alabama sophomore forward JaMychal Green leads the team with 7.2 boards per game while also contributing 14.6 points. Senior guard Mikhail Torrance is tops on the team with 15.1 points per game.

– Alabama leads the all-time series against Florida 73-56; however, the Gators have prevailed in 14 of the last 17 meetings.
– The Gators are 15-5 against the Crimson Tide under head coach Billy Donovan and won the last time they visited Coleman Coliseum on Jan. 8, 2008.
– Donovan’s long-time assistant, Anthony Grant, is Alabama’s new head coach; the two will be going head-to-head for the first time.
– The Gators ended a four-game winning streak on Sunday with a loss to No. 14 Tennessee. It was their longest in SEC play since 2007.
– Allowing 95 and 89 points to its first to SEC opponents, the Gators have held teams to 62.4 points per game over the last five. Florida is 10-1 this season when holding opponents to 60 points or less and 120-2 all-time under Donovan.
– The Gators have hit at least one three-pointer In 599 consecutive games.
– The Crimson Tide have upset wins over then-No. 15 Michigan and then-No. 23 Mississippi State this season.
– As a team, Alabama is averaging 68.4 points per game while holding opponents to just 31.7 percent shooting from three-point range.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators at Alabama Crimson Tide preview after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gameday: Florida Gators at Alabama Crimson Tide

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Walker leads Gators past Razorbacks, women lose

Sophomore point guard Erving Walker turned in a career-high 27 points to lead the Florida Gators (13-5, 2-2 SEC) over the Arkansas Razorbacks (8-10, 1-2 SEC) 71-66 on the road at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, AR. Walker began the game by hitting his first five shots (four from downtown) and finished 7-of-12 (5-of-6) on the night.

Junior forward Alex Tyus started 0-for-5 but finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds for the eighth double-double of his career. Tyus hit the boards hard in the second half, as did fellow junior F Chandler Parsons who left with 11 rebounds but only six points on 1-of-8 shooting after initially going 0-for-7. Razorbacks’ guard Courtney Fortson completed a double-double of his own with 14 points and 11 assists, while G Rotnei Clarke led Arkansas with 17 points shooting 5-of-8 from beyond the arc.

The Gators started the game 2-of-12 from the field and 0-for-3 from downtown until Walker made a three to tie it up at 11. He finished the half with 15 points while the rest of the team was only 4-of-25 from the field and 0-for-6 from three for 11 total points. Walker continued his dominance in the second half with an opening trey, a shot that gave him Florida’s last 10 points on both sides of the break.

A 10-2 run by the Razorbacks would tie the game, and a three-point play by Fortson gave Arkansas the lead back for the first time in the second half. Clarke would go on to score 11-straight points for the Razorbacks including a three that put Arkansas back up 56-55 with 6:40 remaining. However, the Gators countered with a 9-0 run, would eventually take a game-high nine-point lead and were able to hold on from there.

Freshman G Kenny Boynton contributed 13 points but was only 1-of-7 from beyond the arc. Senior F Dan Werner and freshman F Erik Murphy were a combined 0-for-7 from the field; Werner was ineffective throughout the contest while Murphy was tentative in the paint and missed a number of easy layups and put-backs.

Florida was able to out-rebound Arkansas 42-29. The Gators only shot 35.5 percent from the field compared to 44.2 percent by the home team, but made 21-of-26 free throws against Arkansas’ 12-of-17 from the charity stripe.

The Gators return home to face the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN.
The Florida women’s basketball team (10-9, 3-3 SEC) lost 82-58 on the road in Tuscaloosa, AL, to the Alabama Crimson Tide (9-10, 1-5 SEC) at the Coleman Coliseum. The Crimson Tide were previously winless in conference play before absolutely throttling the Gators Thursday night. Florida’s 24-point loss was their worst this season. Tierney Jenkins led Alabama with a double-double on 28 points and 12 rebounds while Celiscia Farmer and Ericka Russell added 19 and 18 points, respectively. Senior forward Sharielle Smith was the Gators’ most productive player with nine points and nine rebounds.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

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