MBB Preview: Georgia vs. Alabama

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MBB Preview: Georgia vs. Alabama

Sahvir Wheeler
Sahvir Wheeler

Georgia (12-7, 5-7 SEC) vs. No. 11/11 Alabama (16-5, 11-1 SEC)

Saturday, February 13, at 3:30 p.m. ET

Coleman Coliseum (2,055) in Tuscaloosa, Ala.





Series History: UA leads, 96-52

Last Meeting: UA, 105-102 in overtime, on 2/8/20

Watch: SEC Network (Kevin Fitzgerald, play-by-play; Dane Bradshaw, analyst)





Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network Flagship: WSB AM 750 Atlanta; XM: 190; Internet: 961 (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)

The Starting Five

• Sahvir Wheeler’s 139 assists ties his ‘19-20 effort as 14th-best in UGA history. He is 30 assists shy of  Pertha Robinson’s school record (169 in 1994-95).

• Of 347 Division I teams, Toumani Camara and Sahvir Wheeler are of only five sets of teammates with five or more double-doubles during 2020-21.

• Justin Kier leads the SEC and is No. 41 nationally in average steals at 2.1. That is on pace to be the first Bulldog to average 2.0 spg since KCP in 2013.

• Eight different Bulldogs have scored in double figures during the 2020-21 season, combining to produce 75 double-digit performances in UGA’s 19 games.

• P.J. Horne, who generally guards the opposing team’s post player a significant amount, leads UGA with 34 3-pointers made this season.

The Opening Tip

Georgia travels to Tuscaloosa on Saturday afternoon to face No. 11 Alabama in the second of three consecutive matchups against ranked league foes in a seven-day span.

On Wednesday in Knoxville, the Bulldogs rallied from a 23-point deficit early in the second half to pull within six points with just over a minute left before dropping an 89-81 decision to No. 16/15 Tennessee.

Following the contest with the Tide, Georgia will return home to Stegeman Coliseum on Tuesday night to host Missouri, which is ranked No. 10 in both the AP and USA Today polls this week.

The setback to the Vols snapped Georgia’s three-game winning streak, the Bulldogs’ first trio of consecutive SEC wins since the latter stages of the 2016-17 season. 

That Tennessee contest featured two dramatically different halves. Georgia scored 26 points in the first 20 minutes, its most meager first-half output this season, before exploding for 55 points thereafter, the Bulldogs’ most productive second half of the 2020-21 campaign.

Keeping An Eye On . . . Entering Today’s Game:

Tom Crean is…

• 5 wins from 400 victories in his career

Justin Kier is…

• 2 points from 1,300 for his career

Andrew Garcia is…

• 2 rebounds from 500 for his career

• 30 points from 1,000 for his career

Sahvir Wheeler is…

• 1 assists from No. 13 J.J. Frazier (2017) among UGA’s best season tallies

• 4 assists from No. 12 Sundiata Gaines (2008) among UGA’s best season tallies

• 5 assists from No. 11 Gerald Crosby (1985) among UGA’s best season tallies

• 6 assists from No. 10 Pertha Robinson (1996) among UGA’s best season tallies

• 9 assists from No. 8 G.G. Smith (1997 & 1998) among UGA’s best season tallies

• 10 assists from No. 7 Rashad Wright (2003) among UGA’s best season tallies

• 11 assists from No. 6 Willie Anderson (1987) among UGA’s best season tallies

• 30 assists from UGA’s single season record held by Pertha Robinson (1995)

• 15 assists from No. 17 Bernard Davis among UGA’s career leaders

Series History With Alabama

Alabama sports 96-52 lead in the overall series between the Bulldogs and the Tide, including a 53-14 advantage in Tuscaloosa.

In the most recent matchup last Feb. 8 at a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum, Sahvir Wheeler notched career-high efforts of 24 points, eight assists and 42 minutes; however, Georgia dropped a 105-102 overtime decision to Alabama.

After trailing most of the first half, the Bulldogs used a 13-3 run over the opening 2:24 of the second stanza to grab a 54-48 lead. That margin grew to 65-53 at the 14:44 mark before the Crimson Tide rallied. 

Rayshaun Hammonds, who put up 20 points in the contest, knotted the score at 92-92 with 21 seconds remaining in regulation to force OT.

The Tide led by four points twice in the extra five-minute session, but the game wasn’t decided until Anthony Edwards’ 3-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.

Georgia’s most recent trip to Tuscaloosa was on Feb. 6, 2010 when Alabama earned an 89-74 win despite a quartet of Bulldogs scoring in double figures.

Georgia trailed by just three, 41-38, at halftime before Alabama began the second period with an 18-9 surge over the first 6:39 of the period to seize control.

Scouting The Crimson Tide

Alabama, which is ranked No. 11 in both the AP and USA Today polls this week, enters Saturday’s game at 16-5 overall and 11-1 in league play. 

The Crimson Tide raced to a 10-0 SEC start before suffering its first setback at No. 18/17 Missouri last Saturday.

It’s probably not a coincidence that Alabama is one of the SEC’s most veteran teams, with a trio of fourth-year seniors in Herbert Jones, John Petty Jr. and Alex Reese who have spent their entire careers in Tuscaloosa. By comparison, there were only six fourth- and fifth-year seniors who played at only one school in the Bulldogs’ previous 12 league games combined.

Sophomore Jaden Shackelford paces a quartet of double-figure scorers for the Tide at 13.7 ppg, while Petty is adding 13.4 ppg, Jones is chipping in 11.4 ppg and Jahvon Quinerly is contributing 11.3 ppg.

Last Time Out

K.D. Johnson scored a career-high 22 points, including 20 in the second half, but Georgia fell 89-81 to No. 16/15 Tennessee on Wednesday night in Knoxville. The setback snapped the Bulldogs’ three-game win streak.

The game included two dramatically different halves. 

Tennessee built a 44-26 lead at the intermission by shooting 55.2 percent from the field and 53.3 percent from 3-point range. Georgia’s 26 points represented its lowest output in an opening 20 minutes this season.

The Bulldogs responded by scoring a season-most 55 second-half points by connecting on 54.5 percent of their shots from the floor.

The Vols’ lead bulged to 65-42 early in the second half before Georgia rallied. The Bulldogs pulled within six points with 63 second remaining but could not get closer.

The matchup between Georgia and Tennessee wasn’t announced until 81-and-a-half hours prior to tipoff. UGA and UT were slated to meet in the regular season’s regularly scheduled finale on Wednesday, March 3. We say “regularly scheduled” because there are potential make-up dates for postponed games during the first weekend of March. The contest was moved after the Bulldogs’ game at Texas A&M and the Volunteers’ matchup with Florida were postponed due to Covid-19 issues for the Aggies and Gators.





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