Jacksonville Sports Day

Bonts: Gators Hoops Comeback One for the Books

GAINESVILLE — The Gators posted the largest comeback in program history in Saturday’s 104-98 double-overtime win over Alabama.

Florida overcame a 21-point deficit, 46-25, with two minutes remaining in the first half. The previous largest comeback was 18 points, against Alabama in 2017 and at South Carolina in 1993.

The Gators’ Andrew Nembhard scored 15 of his game-high and career-high 25 points after the five minute mark in the 2nd half Nembhard scored 21 in last season’s road win at Alabama, his previous career high.

Florida had three players earn a double-double for the first time since 2005 in Kerry Blackshear (24 points, 16 rebounds), Scottie Lewis (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Keyontae Johnson (10 points, 12 rebounds).

Florida’s win marked the first by the home team in the Florida-Alabama series since 2014.

Alabama, which entered the game having won back-to-back contests inside the Stephen O’Connell Center, dominated the opening half and led by a score of 46-25 with 2:19 remaining before intermission.

Florida scored seven straight to end the half and collected nine of the first 10 points of the second half to cut the lead 47-41.

Alabama held strong and led until 21 seconds remained in regulation. That’s when Blackshear stole a pass and laid it in to tie the game at 83-83 and force the first of two overtimes.

The Gators hit 30-of-36 (83.3 percent) free throws for the game, including 11-of-13 in both overtimes combined, to secure the victory.

Alabama was led by junior John Petty Jr., who scored 19 points, knocking down four (4-of-10) from beyond the arc. Junior Herbert Jones finished with 15 points and 9 rebounds, while Kira Lewis Jr. (17), Alex Reese (15), Beetle Bolden (14) and Jaden Shackelford (11) all reached double figures for the Tide.

GAME NOTES: The Gators trailed by 14 at halftime, tied for the largest home halftime comeback in school history…..Florida had three players earn a double-double for the first time since 2005….Blackshear became the ninth player in the Billy Donovan/Mike White era (since 1996) to post 7+ double-doubles in a season, the first since Dorian Finney-Smith in 2015-16.

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