To say it was a poor shooting night would be an understatement. Alabama basketball experienced something much worse.
The Crimson Tide simply could not hit anything it threw up against Florida, no matter the distance. Three-pointers, mid-range jump shots and lay ups all bricked off of the rim.
For a stretch of 14 minutes and 31 seconds, Alabama made no field goals. It missed 19-straight shots and Florida took over the game. Florida (19-11, 10-7 SEC) didn’t do anything spectacular to capture a 73-52 win over Alabama (17-13, 8-9), but it made a shot every now and then, which went a long way in this game.
“It wasn’t like they were taking bad shots,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “Those were shots they normally make. Just unfortunately, we didn’t make them today.”
Alabama went into the locker room at halftime shooting 4-of-30 (11 percent) from the field with only 18 points. The poor shooting plague spread throughout the team.
Only forward Braxton Key was able to slightly avoid it. His two lay ups served as the bookends for the 14-plus minute stretch of no makes from the field in the first half. He scored 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Alabama had seven players that shot less than 40 percent from the field.
“Embarrassment. That’s what I felt,” forward Daniel Giddens said of the field goal drought. “Embarrassment. I know we can build on it.”
Freshman guard Collin Sexton led Alabama in scoring with 14, but it took him 10 shots to connect. He finished 5-of-16 from the field. Key and he were the only two players to take more than 10 shots and make at least five shots.
Alabama needed to make those shots, because for the first time in a four-game stretch, it won the rebounding battle. Florida was the first team to not reach double-digit offensive rebounds during Alabama’s losing streak.
“When we did get the extra ball movement after an offensive rebound- it was one of the few times we’ve out-rebounded our opponent here recently- we just didn’t make the three,” Johnson said. “We didn’t finish in the paint.”
So, where does Alabama go from here? The team is now on a four-game losing streak with its NCAA Tournament chances diminishing by the game. The loss will surely drop Alabama back in the RPI and moves them back in the SEC standings with one regular-season game left.
Earlier this season, Alabama’s losses were reserved for road games. After losing two-straight at home, confidence is at a low point. Alabama can’t seem to get anything to go its way.
Still, Johnson knows its not the time to give up.
“If you own a business and have a bad week or 10 days, it doesn’t necessarily mean you close down the business,” Johnson said. “You just have to figure out ways to improve it. We’ve seen other teams in our conference go through bad stretches.”
Once again, Alabama will try and bounce back against Texas A&M on Saturday. Then, it’s on to the SEC tournament. While it may feel like rock bottom, there is still basketball left to be played.
“I know these last two losses at home have hurt the resume, but the world is not coming to an end for Alabama basketball,” Johnson said.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports