Men's Basketball Falls at No. 3/4 Florida, 78-69

Feb. 8, 2014

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Alabama men’s basketball team fell to No. 3 Florida, 78-69, Saturday afternoon at the Stephen O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla. Senior guard Trevor Releford led the Crimson Tide with team-highs of 25 points, four assists, and four steals.

“I thought we did well, we played hard," head coach Anthony Grant said. "Florida was really good today as well, I give them credit, they made plays and I thought it was a really good game."

Alabama (9-14, 3-7 SEC) led by as much as seven in the first half at 28-21 after going on a 19-5 run, but went into the half tied at 36-36. UA shot 61 percent (14-of-23), including 71 percent (5-of-7) from behind the three-point line in the first half. Florida (21-2, 10-0 SEC) shot 65 percent (15-of-23), but only 20 percent (1-of-5) behind the three-point line.

Florida went on a 16-3 run to start the second, giving the Gators a 56-44 lead with 10:44 left. The lead fluctuated between 7 and 12 the rest of the second half. It was the first game this year that Alabama has lost while shooting over 50 percent (22-of-40).

“Alabama did a really good job in the game of putting us in some binds," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. " We had to guard a lot of straight-line drives, hard drives and we fouled entirely too much in the second half. We put them to the free-throw line 19 times and had a really hard time defending them.

"I thought their scheme as far as how they attacked us was very, very good. Anthony (Grant) did a good job and I thought his staff did a tremendous job."

It was Releford’s eighth 20-point game of the year and his 24th straight double-digit scoring game. With 1,702 career points, he has passed Bobby Lee Hurt (1982-85) and is now 10th all-time in Alabama history. He is also the 10th Tide player to score 1,700 points. He did it on 7-10 (70 percent) shooting from the floor and 4-6 (66 percent) from behind the three-point line while hitting all seven free-throws he took.

Junior guard Rodney Cooper led the Tide with seven points and a game-high six rebounds. Freshman forward Jimmie Taylor had six points on perfect shooting (3-of-3) and a team-high two blocks. All five Florida starters scored in double-digit, led by guard Scottie Wilbekin’s 16.

Alabama returns home to face Mississippi Tuesday night at 8 p.m. The contest, which will be the first of two meetings between the two teams, will air on ESPNU.

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