With a second opportunity to right the ship on its home court, the Alabama men’s basketball team sank like the Titanic. Including the iceberg.
A cold-shooting first half of Arctic proportion was the most visible statistical problem but the issues seemed to run deeper as the Crimson Tide, with plenty on the line, took a 73-52 beating at the hands of a Florida Gator team that it had defeated handily in January.
The issue was settled in the first half, when the Crimson Tide made just four of 30 field goal attempts, including one drought of 14 minutes and 30 seconds without a made basket. By intermission, Alabama was down by 19 points and the players were left looking for words.
“Embarrassment,” said Alabama forward Daniel Giddens. “That’s what I felt. Embarrassment.”
Alabama made no substantive run at reducing the deficit in the second half. The final 21-point margin was Alabama’s worst home loss since falling 70-48 against Kentucky in 2015.
Jalen Hudson, a transfer from Virginia Tech, poured in 27 points for Florida, making nine of 13 shots, including 6-of-8 from beyond the 3-point line.
Collin Sexton led Alabama in scoring with 14 points although he missed all seven of his field-goal attempts in the first half. Braxton Key had 11 points and eight rebounds.
The Crimson Tide’s Herb Jones played just eight minutes, all in the first half. Jones hit his head on the floor after a hard foul and will undergo further evaluation on Wednesday.
Alabama coach Avery Johnson said the first-half shooting woes included “missed layups, open 3-pointers, plays where we would get the offensive rebound and couldn’t score in the paint.
“We weren’t just slinging up a bunch of bad shots.”
Now, when a guy (Donta Hall) who is shooting 70 percent only gets two shots, that’s a problem. That’s something that I’ve got to get corrected.”
Johnson said the team was disappointed at a fourth straight loss — including the devastating back-to-back home losses — but said he would remain positive.
“I’m not throwing a chair, I’m not punching a hole in the wall,” Johnson said. “I’m going to go get in front of the video and figure out what’s wrong with our team.
“Our season is not over. I know these last two losses at home have hurt the resume, but the world is not coming to an end for Alabama basketball. There are more games to play.”
Alabama (17-13, 8-9 SEC) will close out the SEC regular season at Texas A&M on Saturday.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.