TUSCALOOSA, Ala. –- Michael Frazier found the 3-point stroke that left him last weekend at Auburn, hitting five of 13 from distance to rack up 18 points and pace the No. 6 Gators to a tough, sluggish, Southeastern Conference road win over the Crimson Tide, 68-62.
UF needed some free throws down the stretch to ice the game, going 6-for-8 from the line in the final minute. Good thing Frazier had something of a hot hand, as collectively his team shot a woeful 37.7 percent from the floor, but Alabama’s methodical offense wasn’t going to pull away. The Tide shot just 38.6 percent from the floor and went just 2-for-12 from the 3-point line.
That’s 10 straight wins for the Gators, who sit alone atop the SEC standings at 5-0. Not only is UF the league’s lone unbeaten, but the Gators are now 3-0 on the road.
Forwards Will Yeguete and Dorian Finney-Smith scored just six points each, but both had 11 rebounds, accounting for half of UF’s 44 for the game. On a night when no UF player shot well -- or Bama player, either -- those two guys needed to be active and energized on the glass.
Alabama, despite its struggles the last three seasons (one NCAA berth, two NITs), came into the game with a record of 25-2 at home in SEC play since 2010 and with a 14-game winning streak against conference opponents that marked the longest in the league. That one is over.
Florids's senior class of Yeguete, Scottie Wilbekin, Patric Young and Casey Prather won their 100th game together, while UF coach Billy Donovan improved to 7-0 against Alabama coach Anthony Grant, his longtime assistant coach at both Marshall (two seasons) and Florida (10 seasons). The two won the 2006 NCAA title together before Grant branched off on his own, first to Virginia Commonwealth (three seasons), then to Alabama.
Florida (16-2, 5-0) returns home for the first time in 12 days to face Tennessee (12-6, 3-2) for the back end of one of those SEC Thursday-Saturday turnaround. The Volunteers have defeated the Gators three straight and 13 of the last 21.