TUSCALOOSA — Florida’s Jalen Hudson hit another 3-pointer, his third in as many attempts, and Alabama’s Avery Johnson yelled for a timeout. Carrying no discernible sign of life, five Alabama players trudged toward their coach, down by 27 points.
Fans fled for the exits. One, an elderly gentleman, yelled to keep a running clock, trying futilely to accelerate his team’s plunge to a place few thought this season — Johnson’s much-advertised and anticipated “Year Three” — would arrive.
On a night reserved for admiration — for the two injured Alabama seniors making their final home appearance and the ballyhooed point guard who almost certainly made his — the Crimson Tide reached rock bottom.
Stuck in a three-game losing streak, with postseason aspirations growing gloomier with each passing day, Alabama imploded, failing miserably to protect the home floor on which it had been so consistent, producing a 73-52 loss to Florida.
Alabama shot 13 percent in the first half. It missed 26 of the 30 field goals attempted, a wretched display when this team could ill afford such a performance.
“Embarrassment,” forward Daniel Giddens said. “That’s what I felt. Embarrassment.”
The Crimson Tide’s four-game losing streak is its first since 2014 and the 21-point margin was its worst home loss since a 2015 game against Kentucky.
Braxton Key made three of the Crimson Tide’s four first-half field goals. Nine of his teammates combined to go 1-for-24 from the field. Alabama trailed 37-18 at halftime and trailed by as many as 28 in the second.
“It wasn’t like they were taking bad shots,” Johnson said. “Those are shots that they normally make. Just unfortunately we didn’t make them today. Did we have poor shot selection on all of those shots? No. We just didn’t make them.”
Key made a layup with 18:36 remaining, capping his team’s 6-0 run to open the game — the sort of fast, electric start eluding this bunch in its last three losses.
After Key’s bucket, Alabama did not make a field goal for the next 14 minutes and 22 seconds. Nineteen straight Crimson Tide shots missed.
Key, fittingly, hit a layup with 4:08 remaining to end the malaise and trim the Tide deficit to 10. A 12-3 Florida run ended the half and, for all intents and purposes, the game.
Key and point guard Collin Sexton made 10 of Alabama’s 18 total field goals. Sexton led the Tide with 14 points, and Hudson led all scorers with 27.
“During those wins against LSU and Tennessee (two weeks ago), we got some pretty good balance,” said Johnson, who had just two double-figure scorers Tuesday. “Pretty good feeling with what our rotation was and everybody was playing their part.”
A freshman many pundits predict will be a lottery selection in the NBA draft, Sexton finished the first half 0-for-7, but did make six free throws — six of the nine Alabama sunk in the first half.
Without the free throws, Alabama was on the precipice of history. Baptist College mustered just six points in a 1989 game — the fewest ever scored in a half inside Coleman Coliseum. Take away the Crimson Tide’s Tuesday freebies and it mustered only nine points.
Sexton missed the first 10 field goals he hoisted. His free throw line jumper with 16:36 remaining in the second half was his first field goal, trimming the Tide’s deficit to 17.
It only grew worse.
Following another listless possession, Johnson inserted walk-on Lawson Schaffer with 14 minutes remaining in the second half. Fans screamed in delight, one of the precious few actions for which it could applaud on this night.
“We just need to find the focus that we had against Tennessee,” Schaffer said. “I know we're on a four-game skid, but it's all about the next game mentality regardless of how you get beat, the score. So we just have to find the focus and heart that we had against Tennessee and just get ready for Texas A&M."
Texas A&M is the team around which Johnson chose to focus his postgame comments. Saturday in College Station is the team’s final chance to right what has gone so horribly wrong before postseason arrives.
“I know these last two losses at home have hurt our resume, but the world is not coming to an end for Alabama basketball. We still have games to play,” Johnson said. “I’m not throwing a chair, I’m not punching a hole in the wall, I’m going to go in get in front of the video at some point and figure out what is wrong with our team.”