GAINESVILLE -- Florida dropped a conference game at home for the first time all season, losing 61-55 to Alabama in its worst offensive performance on the season.
The Gators shot a season-low 28.6 percent from the field, hitting just two field goals in the final six minutes of the game.
Alabama (15-9, 6-6 SEC) ended an 11-game losing streak in Gainesville despite both its starting guards fouling out inside the final six minutes of the game. Senior guard Retin Obasohan, averaging 16.7 points a game, led all scorers with 15 points before picking up his fifth foul with 5:35 remaining.
It was an ugly and dispiriting loss for UF’s tournament hopes, as the Gators (15-9, 6-6 SEC) play three of their next four games on the road.
Three thoughts on Florida’s first loss at home to Alabama since 1995:
1. LAYING BRICKS
The Gators were brutal offensively, going 3-for-21 from downtown and just 16-for-27 from the charity stripe. They missed (what seemed) like a million layups and bunnies, too.
“We missed a lot of chippies. Chippies that usually go in,” senior Dorian Finney-Smith said.
“It just wasn’t our night offensively.”
UF opened the game just 1 of 7 and never discovered any flow or rhythm. The Gators had 12 turnovers -- five by point guard Chris Chiozza -- and scored just 11 second chance points despite grabbing 23 offensive rebounds.
“I’m not sure I’ve seen a box score like that,” UF coach Mike White said.
Finney-Smith and freshman guard KeVaughn Allen both scored 12 points to lead the way but it wasn’t nearly enough.
The Gators never really established Finney-Smith offensively, as Alabama's aggressive defense neutralized the senior the first 30 minutes of action (just five shots)
Florida tried to dominate the paint early, repeatedly feeding center John Ebgunu to no avail.
The sophomore had a miserable night, going just 2-for-9 from the floor and a paltry 6-for-14 from the free throw line. Egbunu started the game 0 of 4 and struggled with pressure in the post (3 turnovers) and against the long arms of Alabama center Jimmy Taylor.
He grabbed 10 rebounds, five on the offensive glass, but was posterized twice by Taylor, who controlled the paint all evening (11 points, 5 blocks).
“I thought Jimmy Taylor dominated the game defensively,” White said.
“They did a great job on John in the post.”
3. BACK ON THE BUBBLE?
UF entered the day a 7th-seed in ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi’s latest projections, but its path to the NCAA Tournament took a legitimate hit Saturday. The Gators don’t have a sexy résumé -- just two Top 50 wins -- and now a team that struggles on the road must play three of their next four games away from Gainesville.
“It’s a very tough loss for us,” White said.
“As I told our guys, the next two will be a lot harder than this one. You’ve got to take care of your home floor. It only gets tougher from here.”
The Gators, who have the nation’s No. 24 RPI, play at Georgia on Tuesday and at South Carolina next weekend and now find themselves in the middle of a muddled race in the conference standings.
"We need every win," Finney-Smith said.
"That would have been a great win for us, but now we got a tough week ahead."
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