“You really have to tip your cap to them; they made some big plays there at the end,” said Georgia’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who led the Bulldogs with 22 points, eight coming in the final four minutes. “I thought there was a lack of effort by us. We just didn’t get out on their shooters like we normally do. We lost our focus and didn’t get it done and it cost us.”
Nemanja Djurisic added 12 points and Georgia, led by Caldwell-Pope’s eight boards, won the rebound battle 41-33.
It won’t get any easier for Georgia. The Bulldogs head back out on the road Saturday to take on third-place Ole Miss (18-5, 7-3) in Oxford. Bama gets South Carolina at home.
Georgia did not score a field goal for a stretch of more than 10 minutes in the second half. But Brandon Morris broke the drought with 5:34 left in the game and the Bulldogs would record five baskets in the next three minutes. But Georgia wouldn’t score again for the next 2:15 and Alabama had built back an eight-point advantage.
“We talked about being aggressive and staying aggressive for the whole 40 minutes,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. “It was good to see them take those big shots. Fortunately for us they went in.”
Held without a field goal for the first time in his career in Georgia’s last game, Caldwell-Pope jarred a 3-pointer just 2:23 into Tuesday’s game to get the Bulldogs on the scoreboard first. Georgia opened the game by scoring seven unanswered points and led 15-6 just 10:18 into the contest.
But Alabama used an 11-0 run fueled by Georgia’s missed shots and turnovers to take its first lead of the game, 17-15, with 6:45 remaining in the first half. The Tide took the lead on an emphatic driving dunk by freshman Retin Obasohan.
The teams traded leads twice more before back-to-back baskets – the second a 3-pointer by Levi Randolph, gave the Tide a four-point advantage 2:16 before halftime. Bama led 25-22 at intermission.
“We did not have a very good spirit in this game, but we’ve got to be more mature than that,” Fox said. “We had some unintelligent plays throughout the game. You've got to give Alabama credit for their defense, but we did some things tonight that we haven't done for a month."