The worst scoring team in the SEC didn’t look as such against Georgia.
Entering Wednesday’s game averaging only 68.3 points per game, Alabama cruised to a 80-60 victory over the Bulldogs. The Crimson Tide were also able to use its brand of stingy defense to stifle what Georgia wanted to do offensively.
Alabama (12-7, 4-3 SEC) uncharacteristically shot 51 percent from behind the 3-point line, hitting nine of its 15 attempts. Prior to the contest, Alabama had only made 31.7 percent of its attempts from behind the arc.
The Crimson Tide ended up with four players scoring in double figures. For the season, only Alabama forward Braxton Key averaged double digits in points with 10.7 per game.
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The closest Georgia managed to get this game in the second half was to a 10-point deficit.
The loss is a crucial blow to the NCAA Tournament chances Georgia (12-8, 4-4) has been hoping for all year. It’s now the first time the Bulldogs have lost back-to-back games and they have also dropped three of their last four.
After a road win at Mississippi and an overtime loss at Florida, it appeared the Bulldogs were headed in the right direction. All of a sudden, it would seem a lot of work will need to be done to get back into the conversation.
In addition to the lopsided defeat, Georgia head coach Mark Fox was ejected from the game with 1:59 left to play in the first half. After freshman guard Jordan Harris was called for a carrying violation, Fox erupted on the officiating crew and received two technical fouls. Assistant coach Philip Pearson filled in for Fox the rest of the way.
Three who mattered
Georgia forward Yante Maten: Per usual, Maten scored in double figures with 20 points. The hustle and drive stood with him, even after Georgia trailed by 20 multiple times in the second half. Outside of Maten, the Bulldogs got little to no help offensively.
Alabama guard Corban Collins: Collins was the first Crimson Tide player to get hot from long range. Collins ended the game 4-of-5 from the 3-point line and had a total of 15 points.
Alabama forward Braxton Key: The star freshman did a ton of damage in the first half en route to 26 points and nine rebounds.
Georgia trailed by eight when Fox blew up at the officiating crew and received two technical fouls. As a result, the Crimson Tide picked up three of four free throws and drained a 3-pointer. Georgia could never rebound from the deficit.
Alabama’s defense expected, offense not: Let’s state the obvious here. Alabama has given plenty of teams trouble with its aggressive defense. A defensive grinder was expected as a result. Instead, Alabama’s defense was accompanied by a sharp-shooting attack that destroyed Georgia’s 2-3 zone late in the first half and early in the second half. The Crimson Tide became accustomed to wide-open looks and shut the Bulldogs down on the other side. Georgia was held to 38 percent shooting for the game.
Say what you want, but: This was another closely-called game from an SEC officiating crew, which hurt Georgia on the inside. But when it came down to who shot what at the free-throw line, it turned out rather even. With three minutes remaining, Georgia made 11 of its 15 free-throw attempts and Alabama sank 14 of its 20. And Georgia had already begun playing more aggressively before then in its rally attempt, which put Alabama on the line. By the end, the free-throw disparity was much greater with the Crimson Tide making 23 of its 34 total attempts.
A third technical and a flagrant: At the 7:54 mark of the second half, Kenny Paul Geno was called for a blocking foul. When he got up off of the floor he said something that drew a technical foul. All this occurred after Geno made two free throws. With 2 minutes to play, Tyree Crump was called for a flagrant foul on an Alabama breakaway attempt.
Frazier checked: Georgia guard J.J. Frazier was defended well by the Crimson Tide. Frazier finished the game with only four points, which ended a 12-game streak of scoring in double figures.
They said it
Fox on his team’s mindset entering the game: “We didn’t do a good enough job getting our team ready to play. I thought that we had a wounded spirit from over the weekend and I did not do a good enough job repairing it and getting it prepared enough to compete. I don’t take anything away from Alabama. I thought they were the aggressor. I thought they played well. I just didn’t get our team ready to compete like they needed to.”
Frazier on the loss: “We just lost at home by 20 when it felt like 40. I think we're pretty frustrated.”
Maten on the players’ response to Fox’s ejection: “Coach Fox is a fighter for sure and that’s something we as a team need to embrace with regards to how we’re playing. We need to make sure that we’re determined from the jump.”
Georgia hosts Texas in the Big 12/SEC Challenge Saturday at 4 p.m.