Florida vs. Alabama score: Gators’ offense shows up to thwart Crimson Tide

By Adam Silverstein
February 17, 2019
Florida vs. Alabama score: Gators’ offense shows up to thwart Crimson Tide

Image Credit: UAA Communications

Just days after one of their worst performances of the season, the Florida Gators turned in one of their best in a 71-53 road drubbing of the Alabama Crimson Tide that resulted in one of the most important wins of the season for UF. It marked just the second time this calendar year that Florida (14-11, 6-6 SEC) won back-to-back games, while Alabama (15-10, 6-6) looked vulnerable and capable of being topped by the Gators in the league standings by the time the regular season concludes.

Let’s take a look at what went down in UF’s second straight win.

It was over when … the Gators bounced back after some improved offense from the Tide with a 7-0 run to retake a 17-point lead with 3:48 to play. Freshman point guard Andrew Nembhard, who put together a stellar outing, drained a three to cap the scoring stretch. Moments later, Florida increased its advantage to a game-high 18 points, which was also the margin of victory.

UF led by as many as 13 in the first half and saw its margin drop to single digits three times in the second half, but it always managed to bounce back thanks in large part to six three pointers and its third-best shooting performance of the season (.540). It was the first time in the calendar year that the Gators shot better than 50 percent from the field and marked their best scoring clip since Nov. 27, 2018.

Exceptional efforts: Nembhard has not been a big-time scorer for Florida this season, but you would not know that if you watched him Saturday. The freshman floor general scored a career- and game-high 21 points on perfect 9 for 9 shooting, becoming the first SEC player in 20 years to make that many baskets without a miss in league play. He hit both of his treys and his only free throw but only notched two assists in the contest. UF had more than one big-time scorer for a change on Saturday with freshman forward Keyontae Johnson and senior guard KeVaughn Allen each going 5-for-9 from the field for a combined 27 points. Johnson also registered a career-best 13 rebounds, while Allen struggled from long range (1 of 5).

Odds and ends: Freshman G Noah Locke (0 for 4), who has been dealing with a lower-body injury, went scoreless and hardly contributed despite playing 26 minutes in his second straight rough performance … Florida outrebounded Alabama 31-23 and uncharacteristically dominated paint scoring 36-24 … the Gators won their eighth straight in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, dating back to 2008 and 10th straight against the Tide outside of Gainesville, Florida … UF led for 39:41 of the 40-minute game

What it means: Florida picked up a key Quadrant 1 victory by taking down Alabama, listed 45th in the NCAA’s NET ranking. That makes the Gators 2-9 against such opponents this season, though that record does not hurt as much as one might actually expect as teams are not penalized harshly for such losses. More importantly, the Gators may have picked up some momentum with this road win, much needed as they attempt to sprint to the finish and secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Up next: Florida hits the road once again to face LSU on Wednesday. The Tigers have been riding high as of late and are another Quadrant 1 opportunity for the Gators. The game will air live nationally on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. ET.

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