If ever there were a college basketball game that just seemed... off... that was it. There were fouls, loose balls, terrible shots, and off balance players galore throughout the entire game. Plus the Georgia head coach got thrown out of the game. That was fun.
Anyway, Georgia actually kept it pretty close for most of the first half, with the two teams trading blows and actually putting together some effective, if not conventional-looking, offenses. However, the ejection of their coach seemed to take all of the air out of the bulldogs, and suddenly Alabama had scored 9 more points in the last 2 minutes of the half, entering the break with a lead of 41-27.
Alabama then picked up where they left off, and 5 minutes into the second half (with a flurry of 3-point baskets from Riley Norris, Corban Collins, and Braxton Key), the Tide was up by 20 points, leading with a score of 57-37.
Then the patented Crimson Tide cold streak hit, and it took over 4 minutes for the Tide to make another basket, then it was 3 more minutes before Key hit a few free throws to break the ice. Fortunately, they kept up the defensive pressure and kept Georgia from getting too close— they only managed to cut the lead to 11 during that time frame.
The Tide hit just enough free throws in the waning minutes to put the game away and close out the win with a convincing 20-point margin.
For whatever reason, ESPN isn’t showing any individual statistics for the night, so I’ll just give you my player breakdown from memory.
Braxton Key was obviously the main man tonight. He played nearly the entire game, and scored over 20 points. He was a force on offense, made some solid passes, and was just generally a difference maker.
Corban Collins had some great moments (mostly going 4/5 on his 3 point shooting), but also had some pretty bad ones, with the occasional dumb shot and more frequent dumb pass attempts. After coming back from injury, he took much of the playing time from Avery Johnson Jr, who did make one wizard hook shot from like 20 feet away from the basket in his limited minutes.
Jimmie Taylor emerged from his 4-year slumber and showed some serious (and quite unexpected) offensive prowess against an overmatched Bulldog defense. He also grabbed quite a few rebounds and generally put forth more effort than usual. He did, however, foul out fairly early in the second half. Donta Hall rotated with him, and, as usual, Hall was all over the place on defense, messing up shots and grabbing rebounds. He contributed little to the offense, though.
Riley Norris won back some playing time tonight after seeming to get somewhat phased out in non-conference play. He made some beautiful 3-point shots and probably led the team in rebounds.
Dazon Ingram didn’t score a single basket, but nearly hit double digits on his free throws. He played quite well defensively, though. His most impressive moment of the night was when he actually blocked a 3-point shot attempt and then got the ball before it went out of bounds and drew the foul on his breakaway.
Bola Onlaniyon also saw significant minutes, but didn’t make too much of an impact.
As a team, Alabama absolutely owned Georgia in the paint. Everyone seemed to get in on the action as the Tide slipped the ball in between the cracks in their defense for repeated layups, hook shots, and jumpers. Once they established that inside presence, it paved the way for an impressive 60% shooting night on 3-point attempts. Alabama also outrebounded the dogs 40-27.
Georgia definitely didn’t play their best game, but it was obvious who the better team was. Alabama seemed in control almost wire-to-wire. A conference win is always a great thing, and the Tide advances to 5-2 in conference play. We’re just getting into the meat of the schedule, and, a terrible game against Auburn notwithstanding, the Tide seems to be starting to gel a little bit with all the new players entering the rotation at the beginning of the season.