GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) After a slow start in conference play, first-year Alabama head coach Avery Johnson has seen his team come together over the last two weeks.
A road victory in a basketball arena where the Tide hasn't won since 1995 is sure to give Alabama another morale boost.
Retin Obasohan scored 15 points, Jimmie Taylor added 11 and Alabama beat Florida for the first time in its last 12 tries with a 61-55 victory on Saturday.
''We don't give up on each other when we lose and we are very humble when we win,'' said Johnson, whose Crimson Tide has won four straight and five of its last six. ''That shows a lot about the character of our players.''
Alabama seemed to have an answer for everything Florida threw at it.
The Crimson Tide (15-9, 6-6 Southeastern Conference) made 42 percent of its shots from the field while holding the Gators (16-9, 7-5) to a season-low 28.6 percent. Florida managed just 11 second-chance points against Alabama's lengthy frontcourt despite hauling in a season-high 23 offensive rebounds.
''Even when they got some of the offensive rebounds, we did a great job of giving the second and third efforts,'' Johnson said. ''We were just trying to finish this game with one more point than Florida. Fortunately, we did.''
Florida was looking for a spark in the middle of the second half and found a minor glimpse of life when Justin Leon hit a corner 3. KeVaughn Allen followed by grabbing a defensive rebound, taking the ball coast-to-coast and ending with a two-handed dunk.
But after three minutes of exchanging baskets, Alabama scored seven unanswered points to build up a 47-41 lead with 6:34 to play that gave them the edge for good. Obasohan scored five of those points before fouling out a minute later.
Florida missed 12 of 14 shots to finish the game. Allen and Dorian Finney-Smith had 12 points each.
''It's a very tough loss for us. Very tough,'' said Florida coach Mike White, whose Gators dropped their first home SEC game and now prepare to play four of their final six games on the road. ''As I just told our guys, just being honest, the next two will be a lot harder than this one was.''
The Gators had a six-point lead early in the second half, but an 11-3 Alabama run swung the momentum back to the Crimson Tide.
Florida scored eight unanswered points near the end of the first half - six free throws and a John Egbunu layup - to take a 27-20 lead before Alabama's Justin Coleman hit a buzzer-beating 3-point shot to cut Florida's halftime lead to 27-23.
ON THE RISE
After scoring just 38 points during Alabama's first eight SEC games, guard Justin Coleman has averaged 10.3 points off the bench over the last four games. He scored in double figures in three of those contests.
Dorian Finney-Smith saw his 23-game streak of making a 3-pointer snapped after he missed both his attempts from beyond the arc. ... Alabama has limited three of its last four opponents to less than 20 percent from 3-point range.
Florida: Devin Robinson re-entered the starting lineup after 13 games coming off the bench. He missed all five of his shots but grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. ... The Gators lost just their second home game of the season.
Alabama: Improved to 9-0 when holding opponents under 60 points. ... Had four players score in double figures.
Alabama travels to LSU on Wednesday.
Florida travels to Georgia on Tuesday.