TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Nick Calathes scored 21 points and helped spark Florida's second-half surge for a 90-to-83 victory over Alabama in the first Southeastern Conference matchup of the season.
The Gators trailed most of the way before Calathes scored five straight to break open a 71-all game and start an 11-0 run. Florida then made 6-of-8 free throws over the final 51 seconds to help win its seventh consecutive SEC opener, the league's longest active streak.
Alabama got a reprieve when Calathes missed a free throw attempt with 24 seconds left and Florida leading 86-to-83, but Dan Werner grabbed the offensive rebound and sank two from the line.
Huge nights by Richard Hendrix and Alonzo Gee weren't enough for Alabama.
Gee scored a career-high 32 points while Hendrix had 24 points and 16 rebounds despite struggling at the line. He made just 12 of 21 free throws but hit six in a one-minute span late to keep Alabama alive.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)