Alabama Basketball: Tide Overcomes Slow Start to Upset Gators


Despite 14 first-half turnovers, the Alabama basketball team was able to easily pull away from the No. 23 ranked Gators in Gainesville.

Collin Sexton scored 17 points, and Donta Hall added 14 points and 11 rebounds, as the Alabama basketball team dominated the Gators.  It was an all-around game for Sexton, who also had eight rebounds and six assists.

If there were ever a game used to describe a ‘tale of two halves’, the performance against the Florida Gators would be the perfect example.

Looking to rebound after an embarrassing home loss to Missouri, the Tide went on the road to face the Gators.  Early on, it looked like Alabama would just lie down and give Florida the victory. Within the first five minutes of the game, Alabama only scored five points and committed five turnovers.  Florida was able to convert those five turnovers into eight points.

Turnovers were a huge reason why the Tide couldn’t close the Florida lead to fewer than six in the first-half.  The Tide shot a high percentage, but 14 turnovers hindered any comeback chances early on.

The Tide also went the last four minutes of the first-half only scoring three points and committing three turnovers. Despite the turnovers and scoring droughts, Alabama entered halftime only down by six.

At the start of the second-half, it seemed like it would be a mirror image of the first-half for the Tide.  On the very first possession, Sexton’s pass got intercepted for Alabama’s 15th turnover of the game.

Alabama Basketball Was More Focused In 2nd Half

However, that would not be the case.  Following that turnover, Alabama would go on an 8-0 run to take their first lead of the game at 35-33.  It became quickly obvious Alabama basketball was a more focused team after the halftime break.

The Gators helped Alabama in their comeback bid due to poor shot selection and turnovers. The Tide’s defense contributed to the Gators’ problems.

When Alabama’s offense started finally come alive, the defense clamped down harder.  Florida started the second-half 4-for-18 shooting, while the Tide were busy building an 11-point lead with 7:21 left.  In just 6 minutes and 29 seconds, the Tide went on a 15-2 run.

This is a much-needed win for Alabama (15-8), who seem to only take ranked opponents seriously. The Tide now sits at No. 3 in the SEC standings.

Avery Johnson Jr. Provides Spark

In the game preview, I wrote that it was vital for the role players to step up against Florida.  However, the biggest spark came from someone that usually doesn’t get the praise, Avery Johnson Jr.

Johnson Jr provided great play for the Tide off of the bench and played a key role down the stretch.  He gained praise multiple times from legendary announcer Dick Vitale for scores and assists. AJ Jr. hit a clutch three-pointer and dished two amazing assists to Hall for back-to-back dunks in the final six minutes.

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Next up for the Tide is another road game, this time in Starkville against Mississippi State at 6 P.M. CST. Alabama basketball will get a needed RPI bump with the win. More important was gaining a road win against a Top 50 RPI team.