Gators back into first-place tie with win over Alabama
GAINESVILLE - One game removed from its loss to the worst team in the SEC East, Florida rebounded with an 83-74 win over Alabama at the O’Connell Center Wednesday night.
With the victory, the Gators (20-6, 7-4 SEC) have won at least 20 games in 11 consecutive seasons, giving Florida coach Billy Donovan the record for most consecutive 20-win seasons at one school in the SEC.
The Gators also moved back into a four-way tie for first place in the SEC East, due to South Carolina and Tennessee’s losses Wednesday night.
Florida’s victory came despite shooting just 40 percent from the field and 34.5 percent from 3-point range. Florida shot 30.3 percent from the field in the second half, and didn’t hit a field goal in the final 5:46 of the game.
“I was happy with the way our guys battled, fought and found their way through not a great shooting night,’’ UF coach Billy Donovan said. “I thought Erving (Walker, 3-of-10) and Walter (Hodge, 3-of-13) had really good looks, but they didn’t shoot the ball great tonight. But we were still able to overcome it.’’
Sophomore guard Nick Calathes had a game-high 22 points, and added six assists. Forward Alex Tyus bolstered the Gators, scoring nine of the Gators’ 15 points in a nearly 11-minute span as Florida went on a 17-7 run to take a 72-57 lead with 6:59 remaining in the game.
“Coach Donovan was saying to me that we needed energy and rebounds, so that’s what I tried to do when I went back in,’’ said Tyus, who finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.’’