TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama men's basketball rolled over the Florida Gators, 86-71, Tuesday night in Coleman Coliseum, improving to 3-0 to start Southeastern Conference play for the first time since 1986-87.
The Crimson Tide claimed its fourth straight win and fifth win over its last six games to improve to 8-3 overall, while Florida drops to 5-2 (2-1, SEC).
Herbert Jones, Jaden Shackelford and Keon Ellis scored 16 points each to lead the Crimson Tide, with all three scoring six in the first half and 10 in the second. James Rojas turned in 15 points while John Petty Jr. tallied a dozen to round out the Tide's double-figure scorers.
Ellis, who had scored just 23 points the entire season entering Tuesday night's contest, also led UA with eight rebounds and a +30 in +/- points, all coming on the defensive end of the floor.
Jordan Bruner posted a game-high five offensive rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Tyree Appleby led the Gators and the game with 18 points.
Coach Nate Oats Postgame Comments
"That was a great effort from all of our guys defensively. I thought we really locked in after the first eight minutes. If you take away that first minute-and-a-half of the second half, I thought our defense was really good that half as well. Florida is a good team. They play a lot of four out and have quick guards that can drive you. I thought we did a good job to keep them out of the paint and we had a big advantage in paint scoring tonight.
"Then obviously, Keon Ellis had a big game for us. He grew up about an hour and a half from Florida's campus and he came ready to play tonight. He was +30 when he was in the game and that's maybe the highest plus-minus I've seen in a 15-point game maybe ever. I thought our entire bench stepped up tonight in Jahvon Quinerly's absence."
- Alabama scored 86 points on 31-of-67 shooting (46.3 percent) while holding Florida to just 27-of-68 (39.7 percent) from the floor.
- UA improves to 7-0 when it shoots 40 percent or better (46.3 percent) and when it scores 80 or more points in a game.
- The Crimson Tide bullied the Gators in the paint with 46 points inside with a total of 44 rebounds, allowing Florida just 28 points inside and 39 rebounds.
- Alabama's bench played strong in the win, scoring 36 points, outscoring the Gator bench by 10 In all.
- The game totaled six ties and nine lead changes, however the Crimson Tide never trailed after taking a 26-24 lead with 5:20 left in the first half .The Crimson Tide used a 20-4 run over an eight-minute span in the second half to pull away from the Gators for good.
- Ellis tallied a career-high 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 3-of-3 from beyond the three-point arc while grabbing a career-high eight rebounds.
- Rojas' 15 points was a career high, while his seven rebounds tied his best in a Crimson Tide uniform.
- Quinerly, who was have averaging 13.0 points and 3.2 assists per game, missed the contest due to a medical condition.
The Gators jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but the Tide quickly came right back to take its first lead of the game at 12-11 with 13:34 remaining in the opening stanza.
The next few minutes went back-and-forth with the game tied 24-24 with 6:29 left to play in the first half The Crimson Tide went on a 13-5 run from the 6:29 to the 2:27 mark. Alabama knocked down 5-of-8 from the field during that span to take a 34-29 lead Alabama closed the half out with a 7-3 spurt to take a 39-32 lead over the Gators into the locker room.
The first half featured nine lead changes and five ties UA shot 45.5 percent from the field (15-of-33) while holding Florida to 37.5 percent (12-of-32)
Florida came out on a 7-0 spurt to start the second half to pull into a 39-39 tie just two minutes in.
The Crimson Tide caught fire with a 20-4 run that spanned more than five minutes making 8-of-12 field goals and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc to take a 61-45 lead The Gators cut the lead to 12 points with 8:39 remaining in the second half to set the score at 65-53, but a quick 7-3 spurt pushed Alabama's lead to 72-53.
Florida closed out the game outscoring Alabama 18-15 over the final eight minutes of the game, but the Crimson Tide's lead never fell below the 12-point margin.
"Alabama shot 47.7 percent from the field and knocking down 11-of-13 second half free throws while holding Florida to 41.7 shooting to earn the 86-71 victory
The Crimson Tide returns to the road, traveling to Auburn on Saturday for an 11 a.m. CT on ESPN2