A lost week for the Crimson Tide basketball team continued on Saturday in Athens, as the team took on the Bulldogs in a preliminary to Monday night’s main course. ‘Bama lost to Vanderbilt by one point on Tuesday, when a furious comeback fell one point short. There was no such drama today as UGA ran the Tide out of the gym by a score of 65-46. The first bit of bad news for ‘Bama was that starting guard Dazon Ingram would not be available due to the flu. The Tide’s “offense” was reminiscent of the days of Anthony Grant, but without the defensive tenacity that Grant’s teams possessed. This one was over quick, as the Tide got soundly thrashed in every aspect of the game.
Coming into the game the two worst three-point shooting teams in the SEC were Georgia, 13th, and Alabama, 14th. Somehow in the first half the Dogs missed that memo as they nailed 8-16 from beyond the arc. The Tide kept their end of the bargain, however, hitting only 3-14 three point attempts.
Yante Maten, UGA’s senior power forward, had his way with ‘Bama early. Already an outstanding post player, the big guy stepped out and nailed four of four from three point range for the Dogs in helping them to a 44-24 half time lead. Collin Sexton was the only player seemingly with a pulse for the Tide, as he tallied 15 points of his own in the first stanza. ‘Bama shot a dismal 28% (9-32, 3-14 from deep) in the first half and made 3-4 from the free throw line. UGA shot 15-31 for 48%, but 50% from beyond the arc, and added 6-7 from the free throw line.
In the second half the Tide defense improved, or at least Georgia missed their wide open shots. ‘Bama actually “won” the second half by the score of 22-21. Alabama shot all the way up to 32% in the half (8-25) but fell to 11% (1-9) from deep. The team made five of their seven free throw attempts. Georgia cooled off to 5-27 (18%) and only 1-13 (7.7%) from three. The Dogs also made 10-14 second half freebies.
For the game the Tide was a miserable 17-57 (29%) from the field and 4-23 (17%) from three. They were a respectable 8-11 for 73% from the free throw line, problem being not getting to the line nearly enough. Sexton alone averages nine trips to the line per game normally. UGA was a little less bad 20-58 from 34% from the field, including 9-29 (31%) from three, and mad 16-21 free throws for 76%.
Georgia won the battle of the boards in a mismatch, 49-31, with 14 of those being on the offensive end. The Dogs added 15 assists, with 13 turnovers, five blocks and eight steals. The Tide had only seven assists, with 12 turnovers, six blocks and eight steals.
A perfect example of how the game went for the Tide happened about half way through the second half when Daniel Giddens and Galen Smith both went up and grabbed a rebound. When they both came down and let go of the ball a Bulldog player grabbed the ball and made a basket.
For much of the season Sexton had pretty much been the show for the Tide. Today he truly was. The freshman sensation scored 23 of the teams 46 points, and didn't get help from any of his teammates. Donta Hall was 3-6 and scored seven points, and lead the team with six rebounds, despite having only 16 minutes of playing time. Hall was not in foul trouble, but looks to have lost minutes after Maten exploited him in the first half. Maten ended with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Rayshaun Hammonds added 13 points and eight boards, while Sexton’s high school teammate, Derek Ogbeide had eight points and eight rebounds.
Sexton and Hall were 12-22 from the field for the Tide, everyone else combined was 5-32. Braxton Key was 0-7, John Petty 1-8 and Avery Johnson, Jr and Herbert Jones were both 2-7. Johnson, Jr was the second leading scorer with eight points.
Collin Sexton is dynamic, but one thing ‘Bama has found out is he can't do it all by himself. Players are going to have to step up and help on a consistent basis. Not having Ingram, on top of Riley Norris being out for the year, did not help, but wouldn't have prevented this ass kicking.
And according to the esteemed Cecil Hurt, to add insult to injury, because of delays the team had to hang around the gym for at least three extra hours before being able to fly home. As of now they haven't left yet. God Speed and travel safe, I hope they are buckled up.
‘Bama returns to Coleman on Tuesday when they host South Carolina at 6 p.m. The Gamecocks were a final four team a year ago. Five of the next seven games are at home, so the Tide needs to lock down the home court to have a chance to make the NCAA tournament. A lot of ball left, so
Roll Tide and Buckle Up