Gators roll

Published: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 at 11:02 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 at 11:02 p.m.

TUSCALOOSA - Anthony Roberson scored 26 points and David Lee had 24, giving No. 22 Florida an overpowering inside-outside combination in an 88-78 victory over Alabama on Tuesday night.

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Anthony Roberson shoots over Alabama guard Demetrius Smith in the first half at Coleman Coliseum.

(AP Photo/Jason Getz)

The Gators (12-5, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) held Alabama to four points in the final 6:31 and their two stars answered a series of rallies by the Crimson Tide.

Alabama (11-6, 3-3) overtook Florida briefly on Kennedy Winston's 3-pointer off a nice pump fake with 6:48 left for a 72-71 lead. Then, Roberson hit a basket and a free throw and Lee hit two free throws off an offensive rebound and added a bank shot.

The pair combined for 15 straight points for the Gators, who had no problem scoring against the league's top defensive team. Alabama had won 11 in a row at home.

Antoine Pettway hit two free throws to cut it back 80-76, but Roberson answered with his sixth 3-pointer.

Lee was 8-of-12 from both the field and the free throw line to tie his career high. Roberson was 6-of-12 from 3-point range and had five assists.

Matt Walsh added 13 points for the Gators

Winston hit five second-half 3-pointers, including three in a row to bring Alabama back from a 13-point deficit early in the second half. He finished with 25 points, 21 after halftime.

Chuck Davis had 15 points and 10 rebounds, but committed six turnovers and didn't score in the second half. Pettway chipped in 12 points for the Tide.

Alabama was playing its second straight game without leading scorer Earnest Shelton, who watched in street clothes with a sprained knee ligament.

The first half featured a similar story: Florida tries to pull away, Alabama comes back but falls short.

The Gators opened up a 12-point lead in the first half, then Davis scored 12 points in a five-minute span to cut it to 43-40 with 1:58 left. Alabama made 10 of 12 free throws in a five-minute span, all but two courtesy of Davis.

Roberson answered with two quick 3-pointers to stretch the lead and Alabama's last scoring chance ended with a shot-clock violation.

The Tide got one of its biggest wins in recent memories on the Gators' previous visit to Coleman Coliseum, when Pettway's buzzer-beating layup clinched Alabama's first SEC championship in 15 years in 2002.

Florida, however, has won six of the last seven meetings. It was only Alabama's fourth home loss of the last three-plus seasons.

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