Alabama Basketball Falls to Florida on the Road, 85-54


Saturday, February 05, 2005

Earnest Shelton

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida finally has a quality win, and it came in emphatic fashion over a familiar opponent.

David Lee, Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh each scored 18 points to lead the Gators past No. 11 Alabama 85-54, their largest victory ever against a ranked opponent.

``It's not about the margin of victory,'' Lee said. ``It was about getting that sixth (conference) win. We know if we leave everything on the floor, then good things are going to happen.''

Freshman Al Horford pulled down 18 rebounds for the Gators (14-5, 6-2 Southeastern Conference), who blew it open early with a 15-0 run. Florida beat the Crimson Tide for the eighth time in their last nine meetings.

Earnest Shelton and Chuck Davis had 15 points to pace Alabama (17-4, 6-2).

Corey Brewer gave the Gators the lead for a good, 14-12, with a breakaway dunk off an Alabama turnover. Lee followed with a three-point play, hitting a turnaround jumper on the baseline as he was fouled.
When Walsh hit a 3-pointer after Roberson made a leaping save on the baseline, the Gators lead improved to 24-12 with 9:29 left.

The closest Alabama got the rest of the way was 11 points. Walsh capped Florida's nearly perfect first half with a 3 at the buzzer for a 46-23 lead.

``We never could get in a rhythm offensively, Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. ``We seemed like we were a step slow defensively. We weren't very sharp in any phase of the game, and they played really well.''

Florida's big three of Lee, Roberson and Walsh combined to shoot 19-of-35. Alabama made just 20 field goals.

In the first half, the Gators outrebounded the Crimson Tide 22-8, did not give up an offensive rebound and committed only one turnover. Florida's lead got as big as 33 points in the second half when it was 72-39.

It was the second-most lopsided win for Florida in series history, trailing a 32-point victory in 1967.

Shelton picked up a foul while chasing down the opening tip 3 seconds into the game, setting the tone. Kennedy Winston, the SEC's third-leading scorer, shot 3-of-12 and finished with six points.

The Crimson Tide had 23 rebounds, and the Gators grabbed 46 -- Horford had 18.

Alabama has struggled offensively in SEC road games. It averages 82 points in three conference home games and 60 points in five games away from Tuscaloosa.