Sunday, March 17, 2013
Florida Flusters Bama, 61-51
It took us over 3 minutes to get on the board, but thankfully we played good defense and Florida missed some open shots so we were still tied in the game. It was an ugly, low scoring game, just what we wanted. We kept a hand in the face of their 3 point shooters and double teamed in the post throughout the first half to limit the cold shooting Gators and take a 3 point lead into the half.
The start of the second half was one of the key moments in the game. While we stretched our lead out to 10 thanks to some turnovers and hot shooting, we were also called for 7 fouls in the first 5 minutes of the second half, including the 4th on Rodney Cooper. (I thought the officiating was inconsistent, and Doug Shows in particular had a number of questionable calls.) This left us too small at the 4 spot and necessitated a switch from the man to man defense that had been very effective to a zone. We had an awful time trying to rebound out of the zone. While Nick Jacobs had a good game offensively and kept us in the game, he did absolutely nothing to slow down the Gator's bigs on the other end of the court, which was disappointing after he had a great defensive game Friday against Tennessee. Being in the bonus, Florida seemed to find their shooting stroke from the free throw line and that carried over to the field. Shots that were not falling in the first half were suddenly finding the bottom of the net.
The Gators are a very talented team, and we seemed to get tight when they started making their run. We had a couple of good shots, including a missed layup by Retin, that could have at least temporarily stopped the momentum. Instead, this game was almost just like the one in Gainesville, we build a nice lead, go on a long scoring drought, can't get a single call from the officials, and lose by 10.
Another key play came with a little over 2 minutes remaining, we were down 6 and had just came up with a big stop, Levi had the rebound and we could have cut it to 4 or 3 that possession. Instead, Levi was tackled from behind, lost the ball, no foul was called, Florida got an easy dunk to go up 8 and that pretty much ended any hopes of a comeback.
On the positive side, Trevor Lacey had a nice game, he went 3 for 6 from 3 point range including a couple of very difficult shots at the end of the shot clock.
This game was not nearly as well attended as the Tennessee game. We had slightly more fans there than Florida, but all of the neutral observers were also pulling for the Tide, so we definitely had an advantage there. The remaining Kentucky fans were pulling for us because they don't like Florida, and both the Vandy and Ole Miss fans were rooting for the Tide because they didn't want to play the Gators.
Up next, Selection Sunday this afternoon. Jerry Palm still has us as his second team out, so technically you can make the argument that we are still on the bubble, but I don't think we have much chance of getting in, and frankly, I don't think we deserve to be in. The NIT selection show is at 8pm tonight on ESPNU. I expect us to be a 1 or 2 seed.