Some observations following Florida’s 80-67 win at Alabama.
— Florida sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen is going to become a marked player in the SEC. The 6-foot-2 Allen struggled with foul trouble and forcing shots throughout the game, finishing 2 of 7 from the floor and 0 of 3 from 3-point line while being face-guarded throughout the game. Florida coach Mike White said he feels the game could be a learning experience for Allen, who was able to contribute in other ways with two assists, one steal and one blocked shot.
— It was nice to see Florida shoot with confidence from the free-throw line, particularly with the game on the line. Florida made five of six free throws during a critical second half stretch to build a 66-61 lead and finished 24 of 32 from the charity stripe (75 percent). Alabama, meanwhile, shot just 50 percent from the line (16-32) which allowed the Gators to hang around in the second half. Free throws can win and lose basketball games.
— Florida isn’t going to be able to get away with lackluster stretches on the defensive boards as the conference schedule gets tougher in late January into February. Alabama grabbed 10 offensive rebounds and outscored UF 14-10 in second-chance points. Centers Kevarrius Hayes and John Egbunu combined for just six rebounds in 39 minutes and were often either out of position or outmuscled on the glass. Both need to do a better job boxing out and going after the ball off the backboard.