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Alabama is looking to put together an extended stretch of success as it begins Southeastern Conference play.
The No. 15-ranked Crimson Tide (10-3, 1-0) looks to make it back-to-back conference victories on Wednesday when they visit the Florida Gators at Gainesville, Fla.
The Gators (9-3, 0-0) will open their SEC schedule later than expected after their game at Ole Miss last Wednesday was postponed due to COVID-19 issues.
Alabama is coming off its third win over a ranked opponent this season after posting a 73-68 victory over rival Tennessee last Wednesday at Tuscaloosa.
The Crimson Tide trailed 68-67 until Keon Ellis buried a 3-pointer with 46 seconds left to give them the lead for good.
The Volunteers missed twice from long distance over the final stretch. JD Davidson made one free throw and Noah Gurley sank two more to seal the win for Alabama, who scored the final six points.
Noah Gurley collected 20 points and 10 rebounds to help Alabama overcome a 7-of-31 shooting performance from 3-point range.
Gurley and Jahvon Quinerly, who finished with 18 points, brought the Crimson Tide back in a game in which they trailed by as many as 10 in the first half.
"We struggled to make shots, a lot of that due to Tennessee's defense," Alabama coach Nate Oats said. "Some of them we just missed some open shots."
Jaden Shackelford is shooting 39.4 percent from beyond the arc while averaging a team-best 16.5 points per game. Ellis chips in 12.2 points while recording a team-best 6.7 rebounds per contest. He is shooting 35.2 percent from 3-point range.
"We're going to keep shooting, everybody in the gym, we all believe in each other," Gurley said.
Florida beat Alabama in a double-overtime thriller 104-98 on Jan. 4, 2020, in the last time the two teams met at Gainesville.
The Gators, who can credit their defense for much of their success so far this season, are averaging 9.9 steals per game as a team.
But it's unclear if Florida will be missing any players for the game. The Gators will have gone two weeks without a game once they take the court against Alabama.
"The guys have got to do their best to give themselves an opportunity as they leave campus," Florida coach Mike White said. "But it's really not a huge difference when they're on campus. Our guys are gonna continue to be around other people, and they've just got to be smart with their decisions. Everybody does.
"These guys have a chance to play an SEC schedule. How many of those 18 we'll play, we'll see. Hopefully all of them, of course. It's crazy times."
Florida's last game was a comfortable 87-62 rout of Stony Brook at home on Dec. 22.
Phlandrous Fleming Jr. led the Gators with 20 points, including four 3-pointers. Fleming, who started in place of Myreon Jones (COVID-19 protocol), is averaging 11.8 points while Colin Castleton leads the team in scoring (14.8 points) and rebounding (9.3).
"We consider (Fleming) a starter," White said. "He's one of our best players."
--Field Level Media