Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Sports

Florida pulls away from Alabama

GAINESVILLE — The clampdown defense that has defined the team all season wasn't working well, the offense had stalled midway through the first half, and an opponent with a losing record had given the No. 3 Gators all they could handle.

But when it counted most, Florida found just enough defense, and it shot 62 percent from the field to earn a 78-69 win over Alabama in front of 12,520 at the O'Connell Center on Saturday afternoon.

"It definitely was a tough win," Florida senior guard Scottie Wilbekin said. "They weren't going to give it to us easy."

The Gators (21-2, 10-0 SEC) are off to the second-best start in school history and have won 15 consecutive games overall and 29 in a row at home. It was the 105th win for UF's senior class.

"It's always good to win when we play as bad as we did, especially in the first half," senior forward Casey Prather said. "I think in the second half we did a good job learning and growing from the first half."

Alabama (9-14, 3-7), which has lost six of seven including a six-point loss to the Gators at home in late January, scored a season-high 36 first-half points against Florida defense allowing 22.1 points in the first half. The Tide shot 55 percent in the game, aided by senior guard Trevor Releford's game-high 25 points.

"No, it was not a good defensive game for us," senior center Patric Young said. "We could have done a lot better job, especially in guarding Rele­ford. That's not our defense at all. We gave up too many easy baskets and let them score too many points. But they're a good team, and they did a lot of things that we couldn't handle."

After opening 7-of-7 from the field, Florida went without a field goal for seven minutes midway through the half while the Tide went on a 16-4 run. The score was tied at 36 at halftime, the most points UF has given up in one half at home all season.

"I thought we were bad (defensively) the whole game," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "We were not where we needed to be, but thank God we had some offense today that helped us. I thought Alabama did a really good job in the game of putting us in some binds, and we fouled entirely too much in the second half; we put them at the free-throw line 19 times. They attacked us very well."

UF's 25-8 run gave it a lead Alabama couldn't overcome with 8:46 left in the game.

"Florida's at their best when they're in transition," said Alabama coach Anthony Grant, a former assistant under Donovan who is now 0-8 against his ex-boss. "Our guys battled and fought back, but from an offensive standpoint they took us out of some things that we were able to get there in the first half."

Comments
Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 to-do list

Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 to-do list

TAMPA — By now there are no more secrets. After six games over 11 days, the Lightning knows all the Capitals' habits , and the Caps know all the Lightning's.To Lightning coach Jon Cooper the outcome of tonight's Game 7 of the Eastern Conference...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

TAMPA — He's 30."I know. I'm getting old," Gerald McCoy said Tuesday, shaking his head.He's still a young man, of course. But in football years, McCoy has finally reached a black balloon birthday. This is his ninth season with the Bucs, which i...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning journal: You gotta love Game 7s

Lightning journal: You gotta love Game 7s

TAMPA — Welcome to Game 7, the most fun a player can have if he's fortunate enough to play in one. At least, that is how Lightning D Anton Stralman sees tonight's Eastern Conference final finale."I take pleasure in playing a Game 7," Stralman s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
do your thing, mr. do-it-all

do your thing, mr. do-it-all

TAMPA — He’s the Lightning’s best player. He’s its most important player.Well, other than goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. That’s a given. Every team relies most heavily on its goalie.But if the Lightning is going win a nerve-racking, heart-stopping, nail-...
Updated: 2 hours ago
FSU starter Josh Ball faces Title IX suspension over dating violence accusation

FSU starter Josh Ball faces Title IX suspension over dating violence accusation

Florida State starting offensive tackle Josh Ball faces a university suspension after a Title IX investigation found him responsible for dating violence.The suspension came to light in a Facebook post Monday afternoon by Sandra Sellers, an FSU studen...
Updated: 2 hours ago
HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

Former Gators and Bucs linebacker Scot Brantley, also once a popular sports radio host in Tampa, is battling Alzheimer's Disease and has been rejected from the NFL's concussion settlement, according to tonight's episode of HBO's "Real Sports with Bry...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 Mr. Essential

Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 Mr. Essential

TAMPA — He's the Lightning's best player. He's its most important player.Well, other than goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. That's a given. Every team relies most heavily on its goalie.But if the Lightning is going win a nerve-racking, heart-stopping,...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Academy at the Lakes wins first state softball title

Academy at the Lakes wins first state softball title

VERO BEACH —Academy at the Lakes waited two weeks to play in the Class 2A state softball tournament in hopes of winning what has been an elusive title.The Wildcats completed the first task Monday, cruising to a mercy-rule win over Fort Pierce John Ca...
Updated: 4 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Faria on the mound

For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Faria on the mound

UPDATE, 6:04: Cash said the Rays don't know yet if Wendle will be  back Thursday or Friday, though with the Sox starting RHP Rick Porcello on Thursday that would make sense. …  Cash said OF Carlos Gomez (groin strain) will run the bas...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Mike Evans is one of just three receivers in NFL history to open his career with four straight 1,000-yard seasons, but he understands one area where he can make a big improvement in 2018: yards after the catch."I think last year was my worst year in ...
Updated: 4 hours ago