It was a tale of two halves. Alabama stunk it up in the first half, but played awesome in the second, and scored its largest margin of victory win ever in Gainesville to improve to 15-8, 6-4 in the SEC.
We went back to the big starting lineup with Dan getting the nod over Key. We had 5 turnovers in the first 5 minutes while Florida built a 9 point lead. Florida killed us with the pick and roll and back door cuts, and we couldn't hold on to the basketball on offense. We ended the first half with 15 turnovers, but thankfully Florida missed so many open shots we only trailed by 6 at the half.
The Tide came out with renewed focus in the second half. In fairness, Florida's shot selection was pretty terrible, but we pushed the ball up the floor, had great ball movement, got some huge rebounds, and only turned it over 4 times in the second half.
I've been hard on AJ here, but he was great at point. In fact, when we had the run about midway through the second half that gave us the lead for good, it was with a lineup that I really didn't have much faith in. AJ was nearly flawless at point, he made great decisions and ended up scoring 10 points. Collin had a great game, with 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Donta Hall was the MVP in my mind, as he posted a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. He did a great job of running the floor, and was a big reason for our success in transition on both ends of the floor. Herb bounced back and was mostly back to his normal self after the bad game against Mizzou. He scored 6 points and played lock down defense as usual. Braxton Key responded well to coming off the bench. He had more turnovers than I would like, but provided a big spark with his 13 points and 5 rebounds. He also played very solid defense in the second half. For all of the talk about how our team has underachieved relative to its talent level, I think Mike White has some serious questions to answer to the Florida fanbase.
The nationally televised games against top 25 opponents have not been our problem this season. We still need at least 3 more wins to feel good about getting an NCAA tournament bid. Let's see if we can keep the momentum going in lower profile games.
Up next, we travel to starkville, MS Tuesday night to take on the Mississippi $tate bulldogs. Tip-off is set for 6pm on the SEC Network.