Freshman point guard Andrew Nembhard scored a career-high 21 points and freshman guard Keyontae Johnson posted his first career double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, lifting Florida to a 71-53 road win over Alabama in SEC play at Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Nembhard was a perfect 9 for 9 from the floor, including two makes from 3-point range. Senior guard KeVaughn Allen added 13 points for the Gators (14-11, 6-6 SEC), who picked up their second straight win.
Florida was the more physical, focused team for much of the afternoon, outrebounding Alabama 31-23 and outscoring Alabama 11-3 in points off turnovers.
Freshman point guard Kira Lewis Jr. led Alabama (15-10, 6-6) with 14 points. Senior center Donta Hall and sophomore guard John Petty added 10 points apiece for the Crimson Tide. Alabama struggled putting the ball in the basket all game, shooting just 44.2 percent from the floor, including 5-of-19 from 3-point range, and a meager 45.5 percent (10-of-22) from the free-throw line.
Alabama started the game cold, missing its first seven shots. Florida took advantage, jumping to a quick 12-2 lead after an Allen jumper.
Florida extended its lead to as many as 13 points in the first half, going up 22-9 on Johnson’s 3-pointer. Alabama made a late first-half run, cutting the Gators’ lead to 33-26 on a 3-pointer by Petty with 1:19 left in the first half. But Florida sophomore point Mike Okauru answered with a jumper in the lane with 59 seconds left in the half, allowing Florida to take a 35-26 lead into halftime.
The Gators shot 53.6 percent from the field in the first half, while limiting the Crimson Tide to 45.5 percent shooting from the floor.
After Florida extended its lead to 52-36 in the second half, Alabama went on an 8-0 run, cutting UF’s the Gators’ lead to 52-44 when sophomore forward Herb Jones made one of two free throws. But Nembhard converted on a three-point play to put Florida back up 55-44 with 8:21 left and the Gators led for the rest of the game.
—Field Level Media