Georgia 65, Alabama 46: Basketball back in familiar funk despite Collin Sexton

Filed under: Basketball |

By Chris DePew
TideFans.com Staff
Jan. 6, 2018

Playing without an ill , Alabama was quickly reduced to a disorganized, passive mess as host Georgia delivered a 65-46 whipping.

What did we learn today?: can’t coach a college offense. There’s been plenty of evidence for that conclusion before the debacle in Athens, but it has now been made crystal clear that it wasn’t just a talent deficit holding him back. Johnson can recruit talented players that can score against inferior competition. Occasionally he can motivate a team with its backs to the wall to produce a strong one-off effort. But against stronger defensive teams and over the long haul of the season, his teams shoot poorly, fail to distribute the ball and quit all too often when things don’t go their way. In two-and-a-half seasons under Johnson, this is the 17th game where the Crimson Tide has failed to reach 60 points.

What were the biggest concerns?: Something is fundamentally broken with ’s game beyond any need to shake off rust. Last year’s leading scorer was held to a single point after going 0-for-7 from the floor and joined his teammates in playing painfully inept defense. Abandoning your man to fruitlessly chase after the ball is something that usually gets corrected in junior high practices, but as the game momentum turned against Bama early the defense dissolved into chaos in the first half. Part of the reason was held to seven points and didn’t get more scoring looks is because Johnson couldn’t trust him on defense against Bulldogs star Yante Maten, who racked up 26 points and 11 rebounds. also reverted back to bad habits and instincts, which in his case means jacking up 3-point attempts whether they make sense or not. He made one of his seven attempts for his only three points of the game. Those three starters plus , who got the start when Ingram couldn’t go because of the flu, combined for 11 points.

What was the best part of the game?: Even a game this ugly isn’t enough by itself to end Alabama’s NCAA tournament hopes, since the Bulldogs were already a borderline top 50 team. But the pattern this team has established, especially on the road, will absolutely kill it unless Johnson finds a way to turn things around fast. The Tide needs to find a way to finish with a winning conference record, including the SEC tournament, and it is squandering a golden chance during what was supposed to be the easiest part of the league schedule.

Who was the star?: Thank God for , who had half of Bama’s points (23) and assists on three of his teammate’s eight field goals. His biggest need for improvement may be his willingness to get in other people’s faces and get onto them when they aren’t playing up to an acceptable standard, and frankly that’s more than should be asked of any true freshman.

What’s next?: Back to Coleman Coliseum for what suddenly looks like a must-win game against South Carolina on Tuesday. Tipoff on the SEC Network is scheduled for 6 p.m. Central.

Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris

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