Alabama basketball powers past Florida in second half for 83-70 road win
Alabama basketball topped Florida 83-70 at Stephen O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida, on Wednesday.
No. 20 Alabama raced out to a 15-point lead during the second half while stifling Florida's offense. Florida brought the game close at points during the half but the Crimson Tide kept the Gators (9-4, 0-1 SEC) at bay.
The Crimson Tide (11-3, 2-0 SEC) was led by Juwan Gary with 19 points and eight rebounds. Jahvon Quinerly scored 19 points and grabbed five rebounds to go with five assists. Keon Ellis scored 13 points despite leaving the game for a portion of the second half.
Jaden Shackelford scored 14 points and Charles Bediako scored 11 points while adding seven rebounds.
Tale of two shooting halves
In the first half, Alabama had field-goal droughts of 5:25 and 3:17, the second ending the half. Alabama has struggled shooting of late, not scoring above 80 points in its prevous four games. Alabama shot 43.3% from the field against Tennessee and 22.6% from 3-point range.
The trend continued in the first half as Alabama shot 25% from the field but an improved 33.3% from 3-point range. Quinerly shot 3 for 8 from the field.
The second half brought better success as Alabama shot 48.6% from the field but was 26.7% from 3-point range.
Early foul trouble
Alabama saw its big men get into foul trouble early, with Noah Gurley having three fouls and both Bediako and Darius Miles picking up two apiece within the first 10 minutes. Gurley picked up his fouls in two minutes of play.
Gurley was coming off his best performance with the Crimson Tide, a 20-point, 10-rebound performance against Tennessee, but couldn't provide the same help against Florida. He fouled out with under five minutes to go, scoring three points.
Gary and Keon Ambrose Hilton found themselves with more responsibility as Alabama went down the stretch. Alabama brought in Gurley and Bediako in the half second half at times, seeing success with Bediako.
"Biggest change is to stay disciplined and just do the work early," Bediako said. "The biggest thing coach was telling me to play disciplined and play smart."
Limited transition game
Leading up to the game, Alabama coach Nate Oats stressed the importance of not letting the Gators getting their transition offense going. The first goal was to limit turnovers, and Alabama committed 12 turnovers.
Florida scored 10 points off Alabama turnovers and five points in fast-break situations. Alabama bested the Gators in both categories with 21 points off turnovers and 12 fast-break points.
After the Tennessee game Alabama made transition defense a point of emphasis of something to improve on.
"I thought some guys made some tough plays," Oats said. "Guys sprinted back, made tough plays. It's been a huge point of emphasis."
It was an effort on both sides of the ball that Alabama had been trying to put together. When Alabama turned the ball over, it brought defensive numbers that slowed Florida's offense.
Alabama heads to Missouri next to face the Tigers on Saturday 2:30 p.m. CT.