The Crimson Tide continued to play tough, close games, but once again on Saturday could not pull out the victory. The main culprit in this contest was Georgia making 30 free throws during the game. 'Bama trailed 34-23 at halftime. Freshman Shannon Hale continued his strong play of late by scoring 13 first half points.
Both teams started slowly. The Tide held an 8-7 lead nine minutes into the game before the Dawgs went on a 15-4 run to take a comfortable lead at the half. Senior All-SEC point guard Trevor Releford had only two points in the first stanza. Kenny Gaines hit four three-point baskets for Georgia and had 15 points at the break.
Georgia was able to maintain a double-digit margin until about the eight minute mark, when Rodney Cooper took over scoring 10 straight points. Releford got involved and the Tide was able to cut the lead to three with about seven minutes left. From there Georgia hit enough of their free throws to salt the game away. Despite only scoring four field goals in the second half Georgia was able to hold on for the 66-58 win.
Four keys to 'Bama losing were the 30 made free throws by Georgia, 10 blocked shots by the 'Dawgs, 12 rebound margin by UGA, and the 4 for 19 mark from three point range by 'Bama.
Once again Releford led the Tide in scoring with 17 points. Cooper added 15 and Hale chipped in with 14. No other player made a significant contribution. Nick Jacobs, Jimmie Taylor, and Carl Engstrom, the teams trio of big men, combined for only four points. Second leading scorer Retin Obasohan scored only four points, all on free throws. Charles Mann and Gaines led Georgia with 22 points each.
'Bama falls to 7-8 (1-1 in SEC) on the season. Georgia moves to 8-7 (2-0! in SEC). The Crimson Tide next takes to the court on Wednesday against another team of Bulldogs, of the Maroon variety, when Mississippi State (11-4, 1-1) comes to Tuscaloosa for a 7 pm CT tip off. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.
I'm as tired as anyone at the close losses. I don't like moral victories, but this team never gives up. For whatever reason they just can't get over the threshold. I am going to hang in there to the bitter end, and hope some of y'all will too.
Roll Tide Y'all. Roger