Shoot. Miss. Repeat.
The Alabama men’s basketball team carried out this fruitless offensive pattern 19 consecutive times in the first half of a matchup against Florida on Tuesday. The drought helped the Gators power their way to a 19-point advantage going into halftime.
With the race to earning a top SEC seed in the final stretch, conference foes Florida and Alabama face off tonight at 7 in Tuscaloosa.
They never looked back.
In a rematch of its 18-point loss to Alabama on Feb. 3, Florida routed the Crimson Tide 73-52 in Tuscaloosa’s Coleman Coliseum.
Guard Jalen Hudson made easy work of Alabama’s defense and piloted Florida to its revenge. He ended the night with a game-high 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting.
“Just trying to be aggressive,” Hudson said. “We were just trying to finish the season out strong.”
Despite a low-scoring performance where he posted only four points, guard Chris Chiozza earned himself a share of Florida history after a fast-break pass led to his 547th career assist, tying the record set by point guard Erving Walker from 2009 to 2012.
To open the action, Alabama (17-13, 8-9 SEC) sparked its home crowd with a quick 7-2 lead. The next 2:26 featured zero made field goals from either team. Florida broke the drought with a 10-0 run fueled by two contested three-pointers from Hudson.
By the 10:27 mark of the first half, Hudson had already scored 10 of the Gators’ 16 points. UF (19-11, 10-7 SEC) shut down the Crimson Tide’s offense throughout the opening period. It didn’t allow a field goal over a near 15-minute stretch in which Alabama shot 0-of-19 and turned the ball over eight times.
Forward Baxton Key ended the scoring slump with a layup to bring the Crimson Tide within 10 points. It trailed the Gators 25-15 with just over four minutes to play before halftime.
Key’s bucket didn’t change much in terms of Alabama’s offensive production. It ended the half shooting an abysmal 4 of 30 from the field as Florida held onto a 37-18 lead going into the second half of action.
The Gators’ dominance never ceased. With over 15 minutes remaining in the game, a step-back three pointer from guard KeVaughn Allen gave Florida a 50-28 advantage.
Alabama didn’t break within 20 points again until just before the one-minute mark, at which UF walk-ons Andrew Fava and Mak Krause were on the floor to end the game.
The Crimson Tide was led by guard Collin Sexton’s 14-point performance. Key was the only other Alabama player to reach double-digit figures in scoring. The team ended the night shooting just 30 percent.
With the victory, the Gators have won two straight and currently stand at third place in the SEC.
“It’s a big win for us,” Hudson said. “Everybody came. Everybody showed up.”
A television broadcast contributed to this article.