Georgia returned home Saturday night after a week on the road, and were bested in overtime by the Alabama Crimson Tide, 105-102.
Georgia struck first with freshman Toumani Camara scoring the first four points of the game, but turnovers early hurt the Bulldogs. In the first 3:22, Georgia turned the ball over four times with three of them happening in under a minute. The early mistakes led to a 9-0 run by Alabama before Camara was able to answer back with a made layup.
At the 10 minute mark, the Crimson Tide led 21-19. Freshman Anthony Edwards had two quick fouls in the first few minutes and didn’t see much action. The turnovers continued as the Bulldogs had eight with 7:53 left in the half. Before that media timeout, they had three in under 90 seconds.
Alabama was gashing Georgia down low as they scored 22 of their first 27 points inside the paint despite being out-rebounded at that point. 32 of the Crimson Tide’s 45 points came inside the paint by halftime. Edwards finally got his first basket of the night with 7:21, but really didn’t show much fight because of his foul situation.
It was senior grad transfer Donnell Gresham Jr. and Wheeler who kept the Bulldogs close in the final minutes of the first half. Gresham had a quick six points before being taken out of the game, and Wheeler had a nice drive inside the paint with a quick layup. The Crimson Tide tide went scoreless for nearly three minutes before John Petty Jr. answered, but Wheeler had another basket to cut Alabama’s lead to one.
At the half, Alabama led 45-41. Senior Tyree Crump led the Bulldogs with eight points, followed by freshman Sahvir Wheeler with 7. Edwards had four points. Both teams were shooting over 50 percent, but both combined for 16 turnovers in the first half. The two teams were tied with 18 rebonds apiece with Edwards leading the Bulldogs. 10 of Alabama’s 45 points came off the Bulldogs’ nine turnovers.
Hammonds started off the second half with a 3-pointer cutting the Alabama lead to one, then the next trip down the floor Wheeler nailed another triple. Alabama had a made free throw in-between before those buckets, but the Bulldogs were able to force a turnover with Edwards capping it off with a layup. That quick 8-1 run gave Georgia the lead and they were able to extend it with Camara hitting a basket inside the paint.
Georgia continued to shoot well as Alabama played sloppy basketball as the Bulldogs led by 12 with 14:16 left. Alabama cut that lead to five, but Edwards answered back with a jumper. The Bulldogs led by four with 11:31 left and they took the lead a minute later.
The game remained tight as both teams went back and forth, but Alabama led by six with 6:37 left. Wheeler kept Georgia in the game as he had 13 points in the second half by that point. Freshman Mike Peake and sophomore Tye Fagan back baskets to cut the Crimson Tide’s lead to two.
Georgia turned up the pressure on defense causing Alabama to go on another long scoreless streak. Edwards tied the game with 4:20 left but Alabama’s Jaden Shackelford hit two free throws to give them the lead. John Petty Jr. hit another basket to extend the lead.
Hammonds came back into the game with just over two minutes to go and made a 3-point play the old-fashioned way, cutting the lead to one. On a critical possession with 1:35 left, the referees awarded Alabama the ball after Georgia was trying to come up with a defensive rebound. James Bolden was able to make a layup to give Alabama a three-point lead.
Fagan hit a basket with 31.3 left as Georgia trailed by one. Kira Lewis Jr. made one of his two free throws, and Rayshaun Hammonds tied the game with 21.6 left the next trip down the floor. Georgia had a chance to win it at the end of regulation, but Harris’ shot came up short.
In overtime, Edwards hit two free throws and Harris had an impressive ending with a layup as Georgia took the lead. Petty Jr. tied the game 2:44 left and knocked down two free throws to give Alabama a two-point advantage.
Georgia was never able to recover as the Crimson Tide hit key free throws down the stretch to seal their victory.
Georgia was led by Wheeler with 24 points and eight assists, followed by Hammonds with 20 points, 4 rebounds with one assist. Edwards had his third double-double of the year as he finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists. Camara was the fourth Bulldog in double-digits as he finished with 12 points and five rebounds.
The Crimson Tide were led Lewis with 37 points, five rebounds, and seven assists. Petty had 21 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. The Crimson Tide shot 53 percent from the field 53 percent (38 of 72) shooting 70 percent from the free-throw line.
With the loss, Georgia falls 12-11 on the season and 2-8 in league play. Alabama improved to 13-10 and 5-5 in the conference.
Georgia returns to action on Wednesday night in Stegeman Coliseum as they host South Carolina.