At the 18:37 mark of the first half in Coleman Coliseum on Tuesday night, Alabama made its second field goal of its game against the Florida Gators, extending its lead to 6-0.
At the 4:08 mark of the first half, Alabama made its third field goal — to cut Florida’s lead to 25-15.
That stretch of strangulation on defense and simple execution on offense was the most important in Florida’s 73-52 victory over the Crimson Tide. But it might not have been the best for the Gators — who arguably played even better in the second half than the first, despite going on a 37-12 run to finish that first 20 minutes.
Jalen Hudson scored 27 points on 13 shots to lead Florida’s offense, and a relentless Florida defense held Alabama to under 30 percent shooting and forced 15 turnovers. While the Crimson Tide rediscovered offense — like, the concept of it? — in the second half, however, Florida got points from almost its full array of scorers against an indifferent Alabama defense, extending its lead to as many as 28 points before slowing up in the final moments.
And this wasn’t even a particularly hot shooting night for the Gators: Florida made just seven of 24 threes, and only 12 of 20 free throws. But Florida took care of the ball, as it often does, committing just six turnovers, and got a combined 28 points from Egor Koulechov and KeVaughn Allen, fine in the sidelights on this night.
And even though Alabama pulled down a stunning 20 offensive rebounds against Florida’s undersized roster, the Crimson Tide mustered just 18 makes on the evening — and had just four in the first half.
About the only thing that truly went wrong for Florida on the evening might not even have been all that bad. A late and half-hearted effort to get Chris Chiozza (four points, nine rebounds, four assists) a fifth assist, and thus break a tie for first place on the program’s all-time list with Kasey Hill, foundered, as Chiozza’s teammates missed a handful of shots that could have resulted in that stat getting recorded.
Now, instead of breaking that record in a blowout win over Alabama on the road, Chiozza’s first dime against Kentucky on Senior Night on Saturday will enshrine him as the Gators’ most prolific distributor ever in front of what is sure to be a deeply appreciative home crowd.
That just sounds awful, doesn’t it?