Scottie Lewis, Andrew Nembhard and Kerry Blackshear Jr. each sank two free throws in the final 42 seconds of the second overtime, and Florida overcame a 21-point deficit for a 104-98 victory over Alabama on Saturday in Gainesville, Fla., in the SEC opener for both teams.
Nembhard scored a career-high 25 points, and Blackshear added 24 points and 16 rebounds for the Gators (9-4, 1-0 SEC), who set a school record by overcoming a 14-point halftime deficit to win.
John Petty Jr. scored 19 points, and Kira Lewis Jr. had 17 points to lead six double-figure scorers for the Crimson Tide (7-6, 0-1 SEC), who hit 13 of 34 attempts from 3-point range but just 23 of 34 (68 percent) from the free-throw line.
Petty’s 3-pointer with 16 seconds left in overtime tied it at 92 and forced the second OT.
Trailing 78-69 with 3:45 left in regulation, the Gators fought back to get within 83-81 on Blackshear’s 3-pointer with 25.2 seconds left. Following a timeout, Florida’s Noah Locke (18 points) stole Petty’s inbound pass and sank the tying layup with 21 seconds showing to force OT.
Scottie Lewis (17 points) sank two free throws and a 3-pointer, and Ques Glover (six points) added a jumper for a 7-0 run that pulled UF within 65-59 and 8:52 left.
Locke and Blackshear each hit a 3-pointer to start the second half — after the Gators had scored the final seven points of the first half — to pull Florida within 46-38 with 19:01 left.
Alex Reese scored 10 of his 14 points points to help Alabama build a 46-32 halftime lead. The Crimson Tide’s reserves outscored Florida’s subs 19-5 before intermission.
The Gators sank seven of 14 from 3-point range in the first half, when the Gators missed five of six attempts from behind the arc. Nembhard hit a trey with one second left.
Trailing 11-9, the Crimson Tide scored 14 straight points to go ahead 23-11 with 11:03 until intermission. James Bolden (15 points) had a layup and 3-pointer in the run.
Leading by seven points, Alabama used a 13-1 run to take a 41-22 advantage 3:21 before halftime. Six different Crimson Tide players scored during the spurt.
—Field Level Media