UF junior guard Walter Clayton Jr. pushes through the Alabama defense Tuesday at the sold-out O’Connell Center. [Caleb Ross/WRUF]

Florida Men’s Basketball Bashes Bama In Rematch At O’Dome

The Florida Gators men’s basketball  team came out on top in the highly anticipated SEC rematch against the No. 16 Alabama Crimson Tide on Tuesday.

After falling at Alabama earlier this season in overtime, a sold-out O’Dome ensured for an electric atmosphere for the Gators (21-9, 11-6 SEC) and they used their home-court advantage to secure a 105-87 win. The Gators close out their final home game at 14-1.

Will Richard led Florida with 23 points, and four other Gators were in the double digits for scoring as well.

Zyon Pullin and Tyrese Samuel also celebrated their Senior Nights, putting up 19 points each. Pullin also had zero turnovers, and Samuel went 9-of-9 at the free-throw line, where the Gators were 40-of-46.

How it Happened

The Gators led for the majority of the matchup, aside from the first moments of play where Alabama (20-10, 12-5) held a three-point lead, their largest of the night.

Both Florida and Alabama offenses were hesitant at the jump.

UF sophomore guard Denzel Aberdeen dunks the ball during Tuesday’s sold-out game against Alabama at the O’Connell Center in Gainesville. [Caleb Ross/WRUF]
With seven minutes left in the first half, after a 3-point jumper from sophomore Denzel Aberdeen, the Gators had the lead that they would continue to build on until the final buzzer.

At the break, Florida had a nine-point lead, 44-35. Walter Clayton Jr. led the Gators in scoring with 13 points in the first half and Richard had nine. Clayton Jr. ended the game with 22 points and Alex Condon had 10.

The Gators continued to grow the lead in the second half and took their largest lead to 23 points (81-58) with 7:19 remaining.

Alabama encountered some game-altering foul trouble in the second half, when two of its players, Sam Walters and Nelson Grant, fouled out. Alabama’s Mark Sears carried the Crimson Tide, putting up 33 points.

Florida’s strong offensive and defensive efforts allowed it to keep the big lead to complete the Gators’ 10th win in the last 13 games.

Up Next

This victory secures another Quadrant 1 win under Florida’s belt going into the NCAA tournament, adding a boost to the team’s postseason resume.

The Gators complete their regular season with a chance to improve their SEC tournament seeding when they play Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (SEC Network, ESPN 98.1-FM/AM-850 WRUF). The Gators defeated the Commodores 77-64 on Feb. 24 in the O’Connell Center.

 

UF junior guard Walter Clayton Jr. attempts a free throw during Tuesday’s sold-out game against Alabama at the O’Connell Center in Gainesville. [Caleb Ross/WRUF]

About Emma Pastis

Emma Pastis is an Orlando, FL native who is a second-year journalism student at the University of Florida.

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