Alabama basketball outlasts Florida in overtime in offensive battle to stay atop SEC

Alabama basketball's stretch over the last six games of the regular season is anything but easy. In fact, it's probably the toughest of any team in contention for the SEC. That started Wednesday with the Florida game.

The Gators have been surging in the second half of the season, winning seven of their last eight before the matchup with the Crimson Tide.

That Florida surge continued at Coleman Coliseum, with Florida giving Alabama all it could handle. But the Crimson Tide showed plenty of fight and found a way to come out on top.

Alabama outlasted Florida in overtime 98-93 to stay in first place in the SEC.

Here are observations and takeaways from the game between No. 13 Alabama (19-7, 11-2 SEC) and Florida (18-8, 8-5)

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Latrell Wrightsell Jr. absence felt by Alabama basketball

Only one person on Alabama's roster has made more triples this year than Wrightsell; Mark Sears entered Wednesday with 60, while Wrightsell had 57. And only four players in the SEC shoot 3-pointers at a higher clip than Wrightsell, who makes 44.5% of his attempts from deep.

Alabama certainly could have used him. Wrightsell didn't play against the Gators because of a head injury.

The Crimson Tide shot poorly from beyond the arc in the first half; By halftime, the Crimson Tide had hit only two on 18 attempts.

Still, Alabama managed to do enough offensively to stay within striking distance of Florida, which made five triples before the break. The Crimson Tide trailed 41-37 at the half.

Alabama defense steps up late in second half

For a while, Alabama couldn't find a way to pair points with defensive stops. Whenever the Crimson Tide surged in the second half offensively, it managed to give up buckets more often than not.

Then in the final minute with the game tied, Alabama forced two misses on Florida's final possession of regulation. Those efforts ultimately forced overtime.


Aaron Estrada hustled, and Alabama won the game because of it.

With 35 seconds left, the Crimson Tide had the ball. Then Rylan Griffen missed from deep. No problem, said Estrada. He crashed the net and scored. Then, after Florida missed a shot, Sears closed things out with two free throws.

Over the course of the game, Estrada tallied 20 points, Sears had 17 and Grant Nelson led all Alabama scorers with 22 points.

What's next?

Alabama has only five games left in the regular season, with the next matchup against No. 17 Kentucky on Saturday on the road. The Crimson Tide will remain on the road for a matchup with Ole miss on Feb. 28. Then, Alabama will close out the regular season with games against Tennessee (home), Florida (road) and Arkansas (home).

Nick Kelly is the Alabama beat writer for The Tuscaloosa News, part of the USA TODAY Network, and he covers Alabama football and men's basketball. Reach him at or follow him @_NickKelly on X, the social media app formerly known as Twitter.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama basketball outlasts Florida in OT to win offensive battle