College Basketball: Alabama at Florida – Florida Favored
The top-ranked Gators look to match the team record for consecutive wins Wednesday when they host No. 25 Alabama.
Florida (23-2, 10-0) beat 20th-ranked Kentucky 64-61 on Saturday night, coming within one victory of its third 17-game winning streak in 15 months. The Gators started last season 17-0 and won their final 11 games, including the national championship, before starting this season with six straight victories.
Florida, off to its best start in SEC play, is also one win shy of matching the school record for regular-season victories in a season set in 2002-03 and 2005-06. The Gators are one home win off the school record of 16 set last season and in 1985-86.
"The most important thing is right now and getting better right now and our guys have been pretty mature about handling that," said coach Billy Donovan, who will be going for his 250th win at Florida. "Hopefully it’ll stay that way."
The Gators, the unanimous No. 1 for the second straight week, are also on track to become the first team besides Kentucky to go undefeated in the SEC in the modern era.
"I think we’ve got really competitive kids," Donovan said. "I am not saying we are going to win every game but that is what their focus is. They try to play that way every night."
Corey Brewer, named the SEC’s player of the week on Monday, scored 16 points Saturday for the Gators, who became the first team since Tennessee from 1975-77 to beat Kentucky five straight times.
"We’re just trying to build and be like Kentucky is," Donovan said. "Sometimes maybe people have harsh expectations, and that’s unfair. We’re trying to build a program, build a tradition."
Taurean Green, who leads the Gators with 13.6 points per game, added 13 against the Wildcats. Florida, which leads the nation in shooting by making 53.8 percent of its shots, shot 46.9 percent from the floor but held Kentucky to just 38.3 percent shooting.
"It was a rough game," said center Al Horford, who was held to nine points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes. "But we made enough plays to get the win."
Florida has won nine of 11 against Alabama (18-6, 5-5), including five straight at home. However, the Crimson Tide ended a five-game losing streak in the series with an 82-77 victory in the last meeting on Feb. 26.
The Crimson Tide lost 75-69 at Mississippi on Saturday, ending a three-game winning streak. Richard Hendrix had 18 points and Jermareo Davidson, who leads the team with 15.0 points per game, added 13.
"Turnovers hurt us," coach Mike Gottfried said. "We made lazy passes late in the game and that’s something you can’t do if you want to win."
The loss dropped Alabama into a tie with Mississippi for first place in the SEC West, and was the fourth straight game decided in the final minutes for the Tide.
"I liked our effort. My kids played their hearts out," Gottfried said. "We just came up short."
by: Marc Young – theSpread.com – Email Us
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