Fastbreak: Florida basketball makes tourney case with road rout of Alabama

By Adam Silverstein
February 27, 2018
Fastbreak: Florida basketball makes tourney case with road rout of Alabama

Image Credit: ESPN Images

Florida Gators basketball (19-11, 10-7 SEC) rose to the occasion Tuesday night with its second straight impressive victory, earning a 73-52 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide (17-13, 8-9 SEC) in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The victory was a measure of revenge for UF, which was beaten badly by Bama on its home court earlier this month.

Let’s take a look at Tuesday’s win in Fastbreak:

It was over when … Florida scored five straight points with 11:28 remaining to take a 24-point lead. Alabama actually scored the first six points of the game before UF calmed its nerves and outscored the hosts 37-12 into halftime, taking a 19-point lead into the break. The Tide made just 4-of-30 field goals in the first half and ended the period 2-for-28 from the floor, giving the Gators such a massive advantage that it would have been truly difficult to squander.

Exceptional effort: Redshirt junior guard Jalen Hudson could not be stopped on Tuesday, posting a game-high 27 points on the evening. Hudson drained 9-of-13 field goals, 3-of-5 triples and 6-of-8 free throws. He missed his final two shots — both threes — so his totals through most of the game were even more impressive. It was Hudson’s second straight game shooting above .500 from the field.

History is made: With four assists on the evening, senior point guard Chris Chiozza moved into a tie for No. 1 all-time in the Florida record books with Erving Walker. Chiozza has 574 assists over his four-year career with a minimum of three games remaining. He also scored four points on 2-of-7 shooting with nine rebounds and two turnovers on the evening.

Odds and ends: Graduate transfer G Egor Koulechov had himself a night as well, draining 7-of-11 baskets for 15 points … Florida forced Alabama into 15 turnovers, scoring 13 points off those miscues … the Gators once again got dominated on the boards 46-31 (20-6 on the offensive glass), but they outscored the Tide in the paint 30-22 … UF led for 32:25 of the 40-minute game and never lost the lead once it took it 7:16 into the contest … Alabama shot just 30 percent from the field and 20 percent from downtown

What it means: Just one week after it looked like it was on its way out of the 2018 NCAA Tournament, UF has won back-to-back games against teams ranked among’s top 50, including ninth-ranked Auburn on Saturday. The Gators are now solidly in the field, but it would be nice for them to win one more game to definitively lock up a spot. Consecutive losses to end the season would not be looked upon fondly by the selection committee, particularly considering …

Up next: Florida concludes the regular season at home against Kentucky on Saturday. The Gators beat the Wildcats by two in Rupp Arena back on Jan. 20.


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