Tide Outlast Gators in OT Thriller

Feb 21, 2024; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide forward Grant Nelson (2) dunks over
Feb 21, 2024; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide forward Grant Nelson (2) dunks over / Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Winning conference games late in February is never easy, and that was evident Wednesday night as the Tide was able to outlast the Florida Gators in an OT thriller. Alabama was able to overcome a terrible three-point shooting performance in the first half, an off game from Mark Sears, and the absence of Latrell Wrighsell on Wednesday night to further strengthen its resume as we get closer to tournament time. This is the type of win that allowed the team to show tournament-ready resilience.

Grant Nelson had his best game of the season, leading Alabama with 22 points and being the primary reason the Crimson Tide was able to keep it close in the first half. He has gradually turned into the player many expected him to be when he transferred from North Dakota State. Nelson's confidence is through the roof, as he has figured things out and will be a determining factor in how Alabama finishes out the regular season and gets ready for March Madness.

Despite his struggles through a majority of the game, Mark Sears hit some clutch baskets late in the 2nd half during the comeback effort. He ended up with 17 points, eight dimes, and seven boards.

Aaron Estrada had a huge game, dropping 20 points on an efficient scoring night, including the bucket which offically put the game way with nine seconds left in overtime.

Since coming back from his second suspension of the season, Nick Pringle has seemingly turned things around with a solid 13-point, 8-rebound performance. Sam Walters had some big threes to keep the Tide within range of the Gators, and helped to show the quality that makes this team special.

Alabama Basketball has a surplus of different players who can take over the game and score big buckets. Six players in double-figures is hard to beat, and, despite a great effort from the Gators, this proved true for Alabama in Coleman on Wednesday night.

With the win, Alabama continued its impressive home winning streak in SEC play and was able to get another win over a ranked opponent. Most importantly, it kept its slim first-place lead in the SEC standings.

Now the Tide will look to continue its recent success when it goes on the road for with tough battles against Kentucky and Ole Miss. It would be great to win both, but a split is crucial as the Tide battles for its second straight SEC regular season title and looks to be in the mix for a two or three seed in the NCAA tournament.