Has the Tide’s bubble burst?

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AP

Florida’s Vernon Macklin (32) goes for two points in the first half as Alabama’s JaMyhal Green (1) tries to stop the shot in the first half during an NCAA college basketball game in Gainesville, Fla., Tuesday, March 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

Laura Owens

The Alabama Crimson Tide’s inability to score has become more costly with each passing game. After falling to the Florida Gators 78-51 on Tuesday night in Gainesville, Fla., the Tide has one more regular-season chance to maintain its status as one of the top teams in the Southeastern Conference.

“They came out with great energy in the second half, got some shots to fall and it kind of snowballed on us from there,” said head coach Anthony Grant, whose team was tied with the Gators at halftime. “I didn’t feel like we handled adversity very well as a team when it hit tonight. That’s a lesson for us to learn.”

Against the Gators, Alabama shot only 39 percent from the field, making 21-of-54 and going 1-for-8 from the three-point line. Florida shot 52 percent from the field and 38 percent from behind the arc.

Scoring leaders for the Tide were Trevor Releford with 17 and Tony Mitchell with 14. For Florida, seniors Vernon Macklin and Chandler Parsons each had 19 points on senior night in Gainesville.

Going into halftime, Alabama and Florida were tied at 30. Florida got the last shot off, a three, with about 15 seconds left to tie it up.

The Gators early on were not able to hit any threes, going 0-for-10 until Kenny Boynton hit two in a row. The Tide went 0-for-2 on 3-pointers in the first half and shot 55 percent from the field. From the field, the Gators shot 37 percent. Despite the differences, the score was even at 30.

Mitchell led the Tide’s offense with eight points in the first half, while Florida’s Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus led the Gators with eight each. Both of those Gator players had five rebounds apiece as well. Florida led in rebounds for the first half with 17 to Alabama’s 14.

To start the second half, the Gators came out hitting two early 3-pointers. Halfway through the second half, Alabama’s inability to make shots put the Tide in a hole.

The hole only got deeper as the Tide failed to capitalize on its possessions. The Gators ran away with the score, with leads in double digits, and the Tide couldn’t make its comeback.

With its win, Florida takes at least a share in the SEC regular-season title, with a 12-3 conference record, while Alabama falls to an 11-4 SEC record. The Tide also stays on the cusp of the NCAA tournament bubble with an overall 19-10 record.

Alabama returns home for its last regular-season game Saturday, taking on the Georgia Bulldogs. The Tide is 15-0 in Coleman Coliseum, and after two straight losses, Alabama will look to end on a positive note. Tipoff is at 12:30 p.m.

“This is a learning experience for us,” Grant said. “One that’s a hard lesson for all of us, myself, our players. It’s a lesson that will allow us to make ourselves better and make our program stronger as we move forward.”