Alabama dominates Florida in a nearly 30-point blowout

The Alabama Crimson Tide entered Wednesday night’s matchup with Florida a perfect 10-0 against conference opponents, and the Gators didn’t come close to slowing down the Tide’s undefeated run in an ugly 28-point rout.

Florida’s strength is typically on defense, but that wasn’t the case against Alabama. Freshman Brandon Miller scored every way possible and shut down each of Florida’s comeback bids. Colin Castleton posted yet another 20-plus-point double-double and the Gators still lost by nearly 30 points.

Starting point guard Kyle Loftonguard Myreon Jones and forward Alex Fudge combined to go 0-of-15 from the field, and Alabama’s bench more than doubled Florida’s bench’s production. It was domination from start to finish from the Tide. Florida led for precisely 0:00 of this game.

What happened

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The first half of the game was ugly.

Alabama opened things up with a 12-3 run that established a lead that didn’t waver for the rest of the game. The question became whether Florida would pull things back within the range of competition, or if this would be another common blowout for the Crimson Tide. ‘Bama went on a 23-4 run over nearly seven minutes in the first half to take a 25-point lead, making the answer fairly clear.

The Tide closed out the first half with 29 points, but Florida entered the second half re-energized. UF cut the lead down to 17 at one point, but Alabama reestablished its dominance and closed out the 28-point win.

Colin Castleton had one of his best nights of the year with 27 points and 10 rebounds, but Myreon Jones, Kyle Lofton and Alex Fudge went a combined 0-for-15 from the field to offset his production. [autotag]Riley Kugel[/autotag] and [autotag]Will Richard[/autotag] both had a strong second half after coming out of the gates slowly. [autotag]Kowacie Reeves[/autotag] got more playing time in the second half as well, but he couldn’t produce much aside from personal fouls.

Alabama freshman forward Brandon Miller dominated the entire game, but guard Mark Sears deserves some credit too. Sears put up 19 to Miller’s 24 and had a plus-minus of 30. Miller looks like a future NBA player and is the kind of forward Florida needs to succeed in the SEC moving forward.

What it means

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Maybe some fans thought that Florida would compete with No. 3 Alabama after downing No. 2 Tennessee a week ago. But the Gators sorely disappointed those fans and have brought expectations back down to reality. Florida is a team fighting to stay on the very edges of the bubble when it comes to NCAA Tournament projections. Keeping things close against potential No. 1 seeds is the goal, but the reality is a 30-point blowout.

Colin Castleton did prove himself a bit in this one. Even if Florida’s ugliest games, he seems to be a beacon of light. This is one he can point to come draft season.

Player of the game: Alabama

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Freshman forward Brandon Miller was the best player on the court and it wasn’t particularly close. He finished the night with 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting, including four makes from three-point range, and added nine rebounds and three assists. It’s hard to see him as anything but a lottery pick, and he could end up being a top-five pick when everything is said and done.

The good news for Florida fans is that he’ll be in the NBA next season, so they don’t have to worry about him for too long.

Player of the game: Florida

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Castleton did his best to keep Florida alive in this game. He dropped 29 points on 9-for-18 shooting, including an 11-for-14 performance from the charity stripe. He earned his fifth double-double of the season with 10 rebounds and added two assists and two blocks.

Talk about a one-man show.

Inside the Numbers

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You needn’t look further than the scoreline to understand what went wrong in this one. Alabama is simply a step above Florida right now, and Colin Castleton has no reliable support behind him.

Sure, sometimes the team clicks and ends up beating No. 2 Tennesseebut this is what you’re going to get against a top-five team more often than not from the squad.

Shooting 34.9% from the field and 28.6% from three-point isn’t going to win games against teams with Final Four potential.

Next Up

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Florida takes on Vanderbilt Saturday afternoon at 3:30 pm EST. Although it’s fair to say that the Gators’ schedule lightens up a bit after the Alabama game, the Commodores are no joke. They are coming off a buzzer-beating win against Tennessee and ranked inside the top 100 on KenPom.

The good news is that Florida is back at home on Saturday and will have the Rowdies backing them up. Rupp Arena and Coleman Coliseum have been pretty brutal over the past week.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire

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