Alabama basketball unable to overcome sluggish second half against UCFBy Matthew Speakman | 12/03/2017 4:50pm
Collin Sexton went 0-for-4 with just seven points in Alabama's loss to UCF.
A completely out-of-sync Alabama had its worst offensive half of the season in second half of its 65-62 loss to UCF. The Crimson Tide only scored 26 points and blew a six-point halftime lead in the final 20 minutes of the game.
UCF went on a 15-2 run over the span of seven minutes and 24 seconds to give the team a commanding lead. During that run, Alabama could not get anything going, and it showed by the way the team responded.
“In the flow of the game, we didn’t have a lot of patience,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “We just got a little bit rattled there, a little bit unorganized. That’s not playing winning basketball.”
Defensive lapses killed Alabama as it tried to claw its way back into the game. UCF entered today averaging 3.4 three-pointers per game while shooting 23.8 percent from three.
Today, the Knights made a season-high seven three-points and shot 47 percent from three. That’s well above what Alabama is used to seeing from an opponent this season. The Crimson Tide only allow opponents on average to shoot 30.9 percent from deep.
“Most of it was ball coverages,” forward Riley Norris said. “...It’s stuff we can fix, and we can work on. We’ll watch this film tomorrow and break it down and get back to work.”
At the beginning of the second half, Alabama fell into an overwhelming funk that it could not pull itself out of. The Crimson Tide turned the ball over four times in the span of 5 minutes and 28 seconds in the middle of the Knights’ decisive 15-2 run.
“We know we have to take care of the ball,” forward Donta Hall said. “It’s a prized possession. Just honestly, doing what you have to do, just keeping the ball, it’s valuable.”
The lone bright spot for Alabama was the play of Hall. Hall finished with a career-high 20 points on nine-for-nine shooting on the evening. The game seemed to run through him, which was a new feel for Alabama.
The Crimson Tide have been led in scoring by a guard in each of its previous seven games. Hall wanted to step up.
“I just knew I had to more momentum than I usually do, and play quicker, play more physical,” Hall said. “I just had the momentum from the start.”
Hall stepped up when Alabama’s guards fell by the wayside. Dazon Ingram, Collin Sexton and John Petty went a combined 6-for-22 from the field. Petty led those three with 12 points. Ingram and Sexton were not on their usual games. Sexton was 0-for-4 with just seven points.
“We have to figure out ways to make sure that we keep everybody in the flow, because we take pride in being a balanced team,” Johnson said.
Alabama will play Rhode Island for its next game on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT.