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Grant Nelson powers No. 13 Alabama to 98-93 win over No. 24 Gators in OT

Alabama scores first 7 points in OT
Alabama Crimson Tide forward Grant Nelson drives against Florida Gators center Micah Handlogten during first half, Feb. 21, 2024
Posted at 10:09 PM, Feb 21, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-21 22:09:09-05

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Grant Nelson had 22 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots and No. 13 Alabama started fast in overtime to beat newly ranked No. 24 Florida 98-93 on Wednesday night.

The Crimson Tide (19-7, 11-2 Southeastern Conference) scored the first seven points of overtime and held on to preserve their perch atop the league standings after a shootout between two of the nation's top 10 scoring teams.

Aaron Estrada scored on a follow shot with 7 seconds left after Sam Walters kept the ball alive. Estrada finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and four steals.

Walter Clayton Jr. led Florida with 27 points but missed a potential tying 3-pointer at the end. Mark Sears collected the rebound, drew an immediate foul and made two free throws.

Florida Gators Walter Clayton Jr. works against Alabama Crimson Tide guard Aaron Estrada during second half, Feb. 21, 2024
Florida guard Walter Clayton Jr. works against Alabama guard Aaron Estrada during the second half Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Florida (18-8, 8-5) didn't score in overtime until Clayton made a pair of free throws with 2:28 left, and he got two more on the next possession to pull the Gators within 92-89. Sears stripped the ball from Clayton on a drive to the basket and Rylan Griffen made two foul shots.

Alex Condon's short jumper cut it to 94-93 with 36 seconds left. Estrada snared the rebound after Griffen's missed 3.

Alabama opened the extra period with two baskets by Estrada sandwiched around Griffen's 3-pointer.

Alabama had six players score in double figures. Sears had 17 points and eight of Alabama's 19 assists.

Walters had 14 points and four 3-pointers. Nick Pringle scored 13 points before fouling out in overtime and Griffen scored 10.

Clayton also had eight rebounds and five assists. Zyon Pullin and Will Richard scored 17 apiece, Tyrese Samuel had 14 and Condon 10.

The Tide had rallied from a 10-point deficit over the final 9 minutes of regulation.

Both teams missed potential winning shots on their final possessions of regulation, sending it to overtime tied at 85-85. Micah Handlogten blocked Sears' layup attempt at the buzzer.

Alabama was without starting guard Latrell Wrightsell Jr., out with a head injury.

It was the first time since 2007 that the teams had met when both were ranked.