From the way it looks on YouTube, being eaten by an alligator is pretty painful. But when you know the gator has been eating people for 13 years and you don’t even try to swim, part of the blame doesn’t rest with the reptile.
The Florida Gators came to Coleman Coliseum on Saturday and won for the eighth consecutive time, extending a streak that reaches back to 2006 with a 71-53 trouncing of Alabama. The loss dropped Alabama to 15-10 overall and back to the .500 mark in SEC play.
“We lacked energy, we didn’t execute our game plan,” said Crimson Tide forward John Petty. “Everything was slow, too slow. It’s not something we can’t get fixed but we better do it ASAP.”
Every statistical category favored Florida. Freshman guard Andrew Nembhard, who was averaging 7.8 points per game, finished with a career-high 21 points on 9 of 9 shooting from the floor. The Gators shot 54 percent, and were at 68 percent (21 of 31) on the inside. UF also outrebounded Alabama, 31-23.
“I don’t need a stat sheet,”Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “They took it to us from the start and we stumbled after that.
“I’m not doing a good enough job building confidence. I’ve got to get them ready to overcome adversity. I walked into the video room before the game and the energy was low. Again, I’ve just got to do a better job.
“Florida has had the same success against us in this building two years in a row (winning 73-51 in a similar trouncing last February).”
Alabama came out flat and never inflated. The Crimson Tide did not score its first field goal until backup Galin Smith made a layup with 12:15 remaining in the first half. By that time, Florida — one of the SEC’s less prolific offenses — had built a 12-2 lead. The UF margin stayed around that level for the rest of the half and was 35-26 at the half.
The Gators then outscored Alabama 16-8 over the first seven minutes of the second half. The Crimson Tide could pull no closer than eight points after that.
Freshman Kira Lewis led Alabama with 14 points. Donta Hall and John Petty added 10 points each. Starting forward Herb Jones was poked in the eye in the first half. He was able to return but played just 12 minutes.
Keyontae Johnson scored 14 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for Florida.
“They obviously were very prepared as far as us being a 3-point (shooting) team,” Florida coach Mike White said . “So we did a better job, our best job of the year, in taking advantage of that. Our attitude was just that we’d take what they would give us.”
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0225.