Alabama Men’s Basketball Loses at Georgia, 70-63, in Regular Season Finale
The Alabama men’s basketball team lost the final game of the regular season at Georgia, 70-63, on Saturday. Junior forward Shannon Hale finished with a game-high and season-high 25 points.
The Crimson Tide (17-13, 8-10 SEC) kept the game close despite losing the rebounding battle, 48-26. The Bulldogs pulling down 19 offensive rebounds, compared to eight for Alabama, resulting in a 13-3 advantage in second-chance points
"When you get beat up on the boards like we got beat up tonight, you're going to have a hard time winning,” head coach Avery Johnson said. “You're going to have to hit more threes than we did tonight and they beat us up on the boards pretty good. When you give up that many offensive rebounds it is going to be a hard time. But we had our chances. We're in the game and then Arthur (Edwards) goes down with the cramps and we turned the ball over a couple of times there at the worst times. It was another game where we're right there in the last seven or eight minutes of the game and just couldn't pull through."
With 7:53 left to play, Georgia (17-12, 10-8) used a 9-2 run to take a 58-52 lead. Still trailing, 60-54, with 2:30 on the clock, Alabama began fouling. The Bulldogs’ leading scorer J.J. Frazier sunk 10 consecutive free throws to keep the Tide at bay.
The teams played a close first half, with Georgia leading 27-25 at the break. Junior forward Jimmie Taylor blocked five shots in the opening frame and Hale put up eight points.
The Bulldogs scored the first six points of the second half to lead 33-25, but the Tide immediately answered with a 15-5 run over the next five minutes to take the lead, 40-38. Including the last five points of the Tide’s run, Hale scored 15 straight points before Georgia regained the lead for good.
Hale fouled out late in the game along with junior Michael Kessens. Senior Retin Obasohan added 15 points, and sophomore Riley Norris led the Tide with six rebounds. Obasohan recorded two steals to move into sole possession of eighth place in school history in the category.
Yante Maten scored 19 points for the Bulldogs, and Frazier finished with 17. Charles Mann led the team with seven boards.
Alabama will begin play in the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Thursday, March 10. The Tide finishes Avery Johnson’s first season as head coach with a 17-13 record in the regular season. Johnson’s eight conference wins are the most by a first-year head coach since Wimp Sanderson recorded 10 in the 1980-81 season. Moreover, Johnson is just one win shy of matching Sanderson’s record for number of wins as a first year head coach at Alabama (18 in 1980-81).