The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide avenged their loss to Tennessee this past Wednesday by destroying the Georgia Bulldogs by a score of 108-59 on Saturday.
The Tide improved to 23-4 overall and 13-1 in the SEC while the Dawgs fell to 16-11 and 6-8 in league play. Bama defeated an SEC opponent by more than 40 points for the third time on the season.
Playing the Tide after a loss is not ideal. As Coach Nate Oats said “it wasn't their fault they were next on the schedule.”
Oats sent out his normal starting lineup of Jaden Bradley, Mark Sears, Charles Bediako, Noah Clowney, and Brandon Miller. It did not take long for the Tide to take control as they raced out to a 15-4 lead after only 3:50 of play.
Sears started things with a three off of the opening tip, followed by two from long range and three free throws from Miller. Sears knocked down two more quickly and the score was 18-4 with 16:23 remaining in the half. When Sears made his fourth triple of the half the Tide had pushed to a lead of 30-8 with 13:35 on the clock.
Nick Pringle brought his relentless energy into the game and made three straight baskets. Dom Welch even had a little five-point run of his own. A barrage of long-range shots kept the Tide rolling, and the score was 54-25 at the halftime break.
Bama blistered the nets to the tune of 20-31 (65%) in the half, going 10-18 from three-point range, but only 4-8 from the free throw line. The Tide had 24 rebounds, 14 assists, four blocks, two steals, and five turnovers in the period. Miller scored 18 and Sears 15 to lead the way. The Bulldogs shot 9-30 for 30% including 1-18 from three and made 6 of 12 from the free throw line. UGA had 16 rebounds, three assists, three steals, and four turnovers. Braelen Bridges eight points lead the team.
The Tide used the same starters for the second half, and they didn't let up — as a matter of fact, the team scored 54 points in each half.
Clowney hit a three to rev things up, but Miller limped off after a couple of minutes after bumping knees with a Bulldog player. Miller would return later in the half, but only had one basket in the half as Oats liberally substituted.
Rylan Griffen and Pringle became the focus of the offense for the majority of the half. Miller’s last basket was a corner three/pointer with 10:10 left and he soon was replaced for the remainder of the game. Jahvon Quinerly was feeding Pringle rolling to the basket for rim rattling dunks, and of course Griffen was firing away as often as he could.
Pringle made a hoop and was fouled with 3:45 left and put the Tide at the century mark by making the free shot. Griffen hit a triple and Pringle had another dunk before fan favorite walk-on Adam Cottrell brought the house down with a three-point basket and Bama’s last points of the game.
In the second half the Tide “cooled down” to 59% shooting on 19-32 including 6-16 for 38% from deep and made 10-14 free throws. Overall Bama shot 39-63 for 62% including 47% from three on 16-34 shooting. The only sore spot was 63% from three free throw line for 64%. Alabama pulled down 49 rebounds, dished 26 assists, had four steals, and six blocks while committing 11 turnovers.
Miller led the scoring with 21 points on 7-10 shooting with 3-5 from deep. The likely SEC player of the year played a season low 20 minutes. Pringle had his biggest game of his Alabama career with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and one of each of a block, steal, and assist. Sears added 17 on 6-10 shooting with 5-8 from deep, all in 19 minutes. Griffen hit 3-6 from three range for 13 points and added four assists. Clowney joined the trio in double figures with 12 points and five rebounds. Welch had his biggest offensive output of the season with eight points on 3-3 shooting. Bradley failed to score but had seven assists and no turnovers. Quinerly had six points and six assists. Pringle led the team in minutes with 21 and 10 players played at least 13 minutes in the game.
Miller was named the player of the game- personally I would have gone with Pringle tonight. However Pringle did snag the hard hat award.
Georgia improved to 12-26 for 46% in the half with 3-5 from deep, and a miserable 7-18 from the charity stripe. Overall the Dogs shot 21-56 for 37% including 4-13 for 30% from three and 13-30 on free throws. UGA had 26 rebound, eight assists, eight steals, and only eight turnovers. Justin Hill was the teams leading scorer with 17 points.
The Bulldogs are a middle-of-the-road team, albeit they are much improved from the last few years. But this game showed what the Tide is capable of.
First of all facing Bama after a loss is not a good idea, and facing Bama in Coleman is also not a good idea. When the Tide is making shots, the opponent might as well fold up their tent and go home. The depth of the team is a luxury that not many squads have, and when they play all out they can't be handled by many. The physicality of U Conn, Gonzaga, Oklahoma, and Tennessee threw the team off their stride, and they must improve versus that style of game.
Pringle looks like he could be a huge help in that regard. Any time you beat Georgia in any thing it is a good day, today was a great day, and on top of the Gymnastic team beating the Gym Dogs on Friday night, a great weekend.
Next up is a road trip to Columbia, SC to play the Gamecocks on Wednesday. The game is set for 8 p.m. CT and will be shown on ESPN2.