Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators bounce back from bad loss by holding on against Alabama in men's basketball

Alex Tyus unloads the ball after hitting the floor with Alabama’s JaMychal Green during the second half.

Associated Press

Alex Tyus unloads the ball after hitting the floor with Alabama’s JaMychal Green during the second half.

GAINESVILLE — In the grand scheme of things, Florida's game against Alabama was another reminder of how far the Gators still have to go.

But with a group that coach Billy Donovan insists is giving all it has but continues to struggle through growing pains, the outcome was most important.

One game removed from its loss to the worst team in the SEC East, Florida withstood a late charge from Alabama for an 83-74 win Wednesday night at the O'Connell Center.

Florida (20-6, 7-4 SEC) has won 20 in 11 consecutive seasons, giving Donovan the SEC record for consecutive 20-win seasons at one school.

The Gators also moved back into a four-way tie for first place after 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.

"I was happy with the way our guys battled, fought and found their way through not a great shooting night," 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."

Florida led 47-35 at halftime after leading by as many as 16 in the first half. But Alabama went on a 15-8 run to pull within 55-50 with 14:26 left. The Tide scored 14 in the paint during that run and had a 10-4 rebounding edge.

Florida gave up 44 points in the paint against the Tide (13-12, 3-8), a stark reminder of its size disadvantage in the frontcourt.

"It's definitely frustrating," said sophomore forward Chandler Parsons, who had nine points and three rebounds. "We're an undersized team, but that doesn't really matter. … They really crashed the glass against us in the second half. We've just got to keep teams off the glass."

With Alabama trailing by five, Gators sophomore forward Alex Tyus reentered and took over. He scored nine of the Gators' 15 in a nearly 11-minute span as Florida went on a 17-7 run.

"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.

Alabama, playing with an interim coach and having lost five of six, hurt itself by shooting 10-of-20 from the free-throw line and going 0-of-6 from 3-point range in the second half.

The Gators' NCAA Tournament hopes stayed alive, for now. But Donovan reiterated there's a bigger issue: He's trying, he said, to help his team get better for the future. And fans need to come to grips with the fact this isn't the team from two seasons ago.

"They're not Noah, Horford, Brewer, Green and Humphrey," Donovan said, referring to the starting five of his two-time national championship teams. "They are not those guys. It's not even about them upholding the standard of what those guys did. It's about right now them creating their own legacy and trying to create their own thing."

Antonya English can be reached at

Florida Gators bounce back from bad loss by holding on against Alabama in men's basketball 02/18/09 [Last modified: Thursday, February 19, 2009 7:19am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    fit test: Top draft pick Cal Foote puts on his Lightning jersey.
  4. Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C Derek Norris tied a career-high with three hits in Friday's 15-5 win against the Orioles then was designated for assignment after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for C Wilson Ramos.

    Matt Duffy is expected to resume his baseball activities once the stitches heal.
  5. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.