Florida vs No. 15 Alabama game thread (all game talk in here)

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Mark Wheeler
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Florida takes on No. 15 Alabama at 7:00 p.m. in ExacTech Arena in a game being shown on ESPN2.

Cam is courtside and will be posting updates throughout the game, and then the post-game press conference here in the thread.

Live Statistics
Pre-game Notes
Mark Wheeler
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camparker25
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camparker25
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Both teams will be switching up their uniforms tonight: Alabama will be in the home whites, while Florida will be in the road blues
camparker25
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According to ESPN's Basketball Power Index, Florida has a 64.5% chance to win tonight's game. Additionally, ESPN has Florida favored at -1.5.
camparker25
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Quick Alabama stats/info:

Alabama comes into the game at 10-3 overall and 1-0 in the SEC. The Tide are 3-0 against top-25 teams, including a 73-68 win against No. 14 Tennessee in their last outing. Their biggest win of the season came against then-No. 3 Gonzaga on Dec. 4.

After starting the season 8-1, the Tide have gone 2-2 in their last four games

However, all three of Alabama's losses have been questionable:
  • L 72-68 vs. Iona (neutral site Orlando) on Nov. 25
  • L 92-78 @ Memphis on Dec. 14
  • L 79-78 vs. Davidson (game played in Birmingham) on Dec. 21.

Player to watch: G Jaden Shackelford (#5) (16.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 33.4 min/game)
  • Team leader in points and minutes, second on team in rebounds
camparker25
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Quick Florida stats/info

Florida comes into the game at 9-3 overall and no SEC games played. Florida was scheduled to open SEC play at Ole Miss on Dec. 29, but was postponed due to COVID issues.

The Gators started the season 6-0, including an upset win over then-No. 20 Ohio State behind a Tyree Appleby buzzer beater three. Since then, Florida has gone 3-3, including a shocking loss to Texas Southern at home on Dec. 6.

Tonight's game starts a tough three-game stretch for the Gators, during which they play three ranked SEC opponents:

  • No. 15 Alabama (tonight)
  • @ No. 9 Auburn (Jan. 8)
  • No. 21 LSU (1/12)

Player to watch: C/F Colin Castelton (#12) (14.8 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 2.5 blocks per game)
  • Leads team in all three stats

Mark Wheeler
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camparker25
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Starting lineups

Alabama
  • Juwan Gary
  • Jaden Shackleford
  • Charles Bediako
  • Javon Quinerly
  • Keon Elllis
Florida:
  • Colin Castleton
  • Anthony Duruji
  • Brandon McKissic
  • Myreon Jones
  • Tyree Appleby
camparker25
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Bama wins the tipoff
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Jones starts off the scoring with a clean layup. Assist goes to Appleby with the nice pass off the fast break.

Ellis for Bama answers immediately
camparker25
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Jitoboh makes his first appearance tonight for the Gators in relief of Castleton and immediately makes a big block. On the offensive side, gets an aggressive and-one to fall. Free throw is good

Bama leads to 7-5

camparker25
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CJ Felder comes in for McKissic
camparker25
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Bench-play making the difference for the Gators so far:

Jitoboh is playing outstanding right now on the offensive side. Comes in the game and leads all scorers with 5 points

On the next possession, Felder drives into the lane from the corner and finishes with an incredible dunk.

Bama calls a timeout with 15:42 left to go in the first half. Score all tied up at 9
camparker25
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Castelton goes 2/2 from the line and gives Florida its first lead since the 2-0 lead to start the game, however Bama retakes the lead with a Quinerly three pointer.
camparker25
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Alabama's Jaden Shackleford has the hot hand so far for the Tide: 2/3 from three and leads Bama with 6 points.

Colin Castleton cuts into the lead with the Gators' second and-one for the night! Free throw to come after the break.

Florida trails 17-15 with 11:21 left in the first half
camparker25
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Castleton leads Florida with 6 points tonight on 2/4 shooting from the field and 2/2 on free throws so far
camparker25
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Florida gets their first three-pointer to fall thanks to Duruji. The Gators are shooting 1/4 from three, while Bama is shooting 4/8

camparker25
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After the foul, Appleby goes 2/2 from the line, tying up the game at 21 all with just under 10 minutes to go in the half.

Bama gets fouled on the other end and has a chance to retake the lead.
camparker25
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Another great move by Felder in the paint gives Florida the lead 23-22.

Right after, a clean no-look pass from Fleming to Castleton gives Florida a 25-22 lead with time called on the court.
camparker25
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Additionally, Florida is already in the bonus with 8 fouls from Bama.

Florida has fouled Bama 5 times so far.
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After missing his last few shots, Appleby extends the lead behind a clean spin move.

Florida leads 30-26 with 5:14 left.
camparker25
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Just like that, McKissic hits the three and gives the Gators their biggest lead: 33-26.

After a Bama bucket, Jitoboh picks up the foul on the other side, and Bama is also in the bonus.

Bediako hits both free throws for the Tide, and cuts the lead back to two.
camparker25
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The bench play tonight for Florida has been outstanding, especially Jitoboh early and Felder.

Felder hits a three pointer and then grabs the defensive rebound. Felder has 7 points off the bench.

Timeout on the floor. Florida leads 36-33 with 2:36 left in the half.
camparker25
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Castelton with the huge block to stop a score! He leads the Gators with 2.5 blocks per game this year.

However, a foul puts Bama at the line, and Quinerly goes 1/2. Florida leads 39-36
camparker25
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HALFTIME: Florida 39, Alabama 36

Castleton leads all scorers with 12 points on 4/6 shooting from the field (4/5 from the free throw line).

Florida is shooting 13/26 from the field, while Bama is shooting 11/35.

Next up? Billy Napier halftime show.
camparker25
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Second half now underway, and Bama opens up the scoring with a long three pointer by Quinerly. All tied up at 39
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