TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — No. 11 Alabama basketball is now one win closer to clinching the regular-season Southeastern Conference title. The Crimson Tide defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 115-82 on Saturday afternoon in Coleman Coliseum, bringing the team’s magic number of wins to two.
The 115 points is a season high for Alabama as well as the most in program history against an SEC opponent. It is also the second year in a row that the Crimson Tide has scored 100-plus points over the Bulldogs, with Alabama totaling 105 points last year in an overtime victory.
“It’s good to finally see the ball going in again,” Crimson Tide coach Nate Oats said. “It’s good to see Herb Jones a lot closer to 100 percent — he’s still not quite 100 but man he looked a lot better.”
Down 8-6 in the opening minutes of the first half, Alabama conducted a 10-2 run to jump up by six points. The run was bookended by senior guard John Petty Jr., who opened the run with a layup before closing it with a three.
Alabama maintained the lead for the remainder of the first half. At the break, the Crimson Tide was shooting 60-percent from the floor including 11-of-17 from three-point land. Both teams were tied with 15 rebounds apiece, but Georgia edged Alabama 16-13 in bench points.
The Crimson Tide led 51-38 at the half, and no help came for the Bulldogs in the second.
In the second half, it seemed that whatever Georgia attempted, Alabama had an answer. By the 12-minute mark, the Crimson Tide had built up a 20-point lead. In addition to draining the basketball from deep, Alabama was defending the paint well — Georgia’s favored area of the court to score from all season.
Senior wing Herb Jones totaled three blocks on defense. The Crimson Tide also stole the ball from the Bulldogs five times. With its defense performing at a similar caliber as its offense, Alabama took the lead and never looked back.
Alabama defeated Georgia by a final score of 115-82.
“I thought a lot of guys shot the ball well,” Oats said. “[…] It’s a feel-good win.”
In total for the duration of the game, Alabama shot 64-percent from the floor and was 18-of-30 from beyond the arc. Combining that with shooting 25-of-30 from the free-throw line, and Georgia was unable to keep up.
Jones had a career night, scoring a career-high 21 points and tallying five rebounds and four assists. Along with Jones, four other Crimson Tide players reached double digits in guards freshman Josh Primo (19), sophomore Jaden Shackelford (18), sophomore Jahvon Quinerly (16) and senior John Petty Jr. (13).
“It was big for us,” Shackelford said. “We’ve been talking about the game where we get back to how we were playing earlier in January through that month and it was big for us. Guys were locked in, guys were ready, the team was ready to make shots so I felt like it was big for us just to get back to how we play.
“The past few games have been slow for us on the offensive end so that’s just a testament to us getting in the gym and just staying positive and trusting our game so it was good for us and it felt good to play back how we’re used to playing.”
Jones and senior forward Alex Reese finished the afternoon leading the Crimson Tide in rebounds with five apiece.
Alabama moves to 17-5 overall and is now 12-1 in SEC play. Georgia falls to 12-8 with the loss and is 5-8 in the conference. The Crimson Tide is now just two victories away from clinching the 1-seed in the SEC Tournament.
Up next, Alabama travels to College Station to take on Texas A&M on Wednesday night (8 p.m. CT, SEC Network).
“We got some work to do,” Oats said. “A&M’s looming out there Wednesday. They’re a really good defensive team. We’re going to have to be better on defense before A&M but really happy for the guys.”
No. 11 Alabama 115, Georgia 82
Photos Courtesy of Alabama Athletics