Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Gators, suspensions overwhelm Tide

Gators, suspensions overwhelm Tide
Pete Pajor

With the No. 14 team in the nation coming into Tuscaloosa, it was all the Crimson Tide could do to hang on for twenty minutes. After a hotly-contested first half, Alabama fell victim to the scary Florida Gator offense, losing 62-51 Tuesday night.

“Florida did a good job of being the aggressor and taking us out of our comfort zone with the way they attacked us on offense and the way they defended us,” head coach Anthony Grant said.

The absence of senior forward JaMychal Green and junior forward Tony Mitchell had an effect on the loss.

“We have some guys right now that are getting opportunities to step out there for extended minutes and are being relied upon to do some things that maybe they didn’t have to do before,” Grant said.

In the first half, Alabama gave the rest of the Southeastern Conference the blueprint for beating the Gators. Alabama held Florida to 25 percent shooting from behind the 3-point line, where the Gators normally shoot 39.4 percent, putting them in a tie for the 16th-best team in the country at the three-ball.

“We always talk about defending the 3-point line because it’s such a game-changer,” redshirt junior guard Andrew Steele said. “That’s been the focus since day one. You have to defend the 3-point line, especially against a team like Florida. We felt like taking that away would give us the best chance to win.”

Alabama also held The Gators to under 31 percent from the field in the first half, 17 percent below the season up until Tuesday night.

The first-half defensive display was accompanied by some great shooting for Alabama – 60 percent from the three-point to go along with a 58.8 percent performance in the first half.

This statistical dominance was offset by Alabama’s turnover problems. The Tide committed 11 of them, which led to 13 first half points for Florida. Turnovers combined with a 3-7 deficit on the offensive glass kept Florida from pulling away at halftime, deadlocked with the Tide at 26.

In the second half, it was Florida’s turn to play architect. The Gators put a 16-0 run on the Tide to start the second half and never looked back. The defensive breakdown allowed Florida sophomore center Patric Young to score eight points in less than five minutes, more than he had all season.

Alabama turned the ball over four times in the 16-0 run and failed to make a single shot in six attempts. The Tide was unable to cut the deficit to single digits after the opening run until there were 23 seconds left.

“They made some tough shots, and we had some breakdowns,” Steele said. “Some games go that way. They’re a good team, so sometimes, they’re going to make tough shots.”

Grant saw a defensive adjustment by the Gators as an instigator for this.

“They went 2-3 zone in the second half, and we struggled,” Grant said. “When adversity hit, we didn’t respond the way you have to respond to win in this league.”

Alabama also experienced a major shooting slump in the second half, shooting under 27 percent from the floor in the second half and making one of 11 3-point shots.

Trevor Releford, Rodney Cooper and Charles Hankerson combined to shoot 2-for-13 in the second half, with scoreless second half efforts from both Nick Jacobs and Trevor Lacey.

The loss sent Alabama under .500 in the SEC once again. The Tide sits at 5-6 heading into Saturday’s home game against Tennessee.

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