Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Outright Dominance; Gators Roll Past Crimson Tide, Earn Rare Feat in School History

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Outright Dominance; Gators Roll Past Crimson Tide, Earn Rare Feat in School History

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

GAINESVILLE - There wasn't any huge celebration, and they didn't cut down the nets at the O'Connell Center, but every Florida basketball player understood the importance of Tuesday night's 78-51 victory over Alabama.

The Gators are Southeastern Conference regular-season champions for only the fifth time in school history.

"It means everything," senior Alex Tyus said. "I never thought, especially my first two years, how this feeling would be like."

Not many players have had it at Florida. The Gators have been playing basketball for 92 years and have been a member of the SEC for 78, but they have won only four regular-season conference titles: 1989, 2000, 2001 and 2007.

Not even the team that won the 2006 national championship was able to do what this year's team did.

"Five SEC championships in [92] years," UF coach Billy Donovan said. "What those guys did tonight is extremely significant in the history of Florida basketball. [In] 92 years there's only been five. So you know what? Those guys are going to leave with something so significant."

Making it even more special is that it came on Senior Night in front of 12,225 fans. Tyus, Chandler Parsons, Vernon Macklin and Adam Allen were honored in a pregame ceremony and presented with framed jerseys. The first three put on a heck of a show in their final game in Gainesville.

Parsons finished with his seventh double-double of the season (19 points, 11 rebounds), Tyus had 12 points and nine rebounds and Macklin had 19 points and six rebounds. They were huge in the second half, combining for 29 points and 14 rebounds and making 11-of-15 shots from the floor.

That allowed the 14th-ranked Gators (23-6, 12-3 SEC) to break open a game that was tied 30-30 at the half. UF made 18-of-26 shots from the floor (69.2 percent), including 6 of 9 from 3-point range, in the final 20 minutes.

"We're capable of doing that," Parsons said. "As long as we keep playing unselfish and moving the ball like we did in the second half, we can score against anybody."

The Gators held Alabama (19-10, 11-4) to 21 second-half points on 9-of-32 shooting. …

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