Top-ranked Alabama looks to rebound after playing one of its worst games of the season when Georgia visits in Southeastern Conference play on Saturday at Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Crimson Tide (22-4, 12-1 SEC) saw a four-game winning streak come to an end with a 68-59 loss at No. 10 Tennessee on Wednesday. Georgia (16-10, 6-7) is coming off a thrilling 65-63 victory over visiting LSU on Tuesday for its second straight win.
Alabama shot just 4 of 18 from the field in the final 13:20 against Tennessee, which led for the game’s final 13:35.
The Crimson Tide set season lows in total points, made field goals (17), attempted field goals (48) and points off turnovers (two), in addition to tying a season-low with four-second-chance points, compared to the Volunteers’ 14. Alabama committed 19 turnovers that Tennessee converted into 26 points.
“It was their physicality. They got into our guards,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “We didn’t handle it well. We obviously didn’t do a great job preparing our guys to go against the physicality that was gonna come with this game.”
Alabama’s Brandon Miller, who averages a team-high 18.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Jaden Bradley, who averages 8.2 points, added 14.
Nimari Burnett, who averages 7.0 points per game, chipped in 11 points, with Noah Clowney, who averages 9.7 points, finishing with seven points and 11 rebounds against the Volunteers.
While Alabama holds a one-game lead over Texas A&M atop the conference standings, the Bulldogs have made tremendous strides a year after going 6-26 and setting the SEC record for most losses in a season.
Georgia enters the final stretch of the regular season in contention for a postseason berth, including NIT, which seemed unlikely after coach Mike White took over the league’s worst team last March.
“I’m not sure how much or how badly (individual players) want to play in the postseason,” White said, emphasizing the day-to-day rather than the bigger picture. “How bad do you want to win the next one? We’re just an in-the-moment, one-day-at-a-time program. But we’re trying to grow.”
Justin Hill’s driving layup with 4.2 seconds left lifted Georgia to the tight victory over LSU, which had taken a one-point advantage lead on KJ Williams’ jumper with 11 seconds to play.
LSU called timeout with four seconds remaining, but Hill stole the inbounds pass near midcourt, forcing the Tigers to foul him with 0.8 seconds remaining. He split a pair of free throws to provide the final margin.
“The last 15 minutes or so of the game, I thought defensively, we were pretty sharp, pretty locked in, pretty connected and found a way to get some stops,” White said.
Hill, who averages 7.8 points per game, finished with 10, while Braelen Bridges, who averages 8.2 points per game, scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half. Jabri Abdur-Rahim added 11 points.
Terry Roberts and Kario Oquendo — Georgia’s top scorers at 14.3 and 12.7 points per game, respectively — scored six points apiece and went a combined 4 of 13 from the field. Roberts also went 1 of 7 from the free-throw line.
Georgia went 1-17 in league play last season, with its lone win an 82-76 triumph over visiting Alabama, which had defeated the Bulldogs the four previous meetings.
–Field Level Media