Alabama shot nearly 57 percent from the floor and turned a tight game into a second-half rout at Coleman Coliseum, dispatching the Georgia Bulldogs 89-74.
What did we learn today?: Bama found a way to get focused on a night when it wasn’t always at its best. UGA had dropped seven of its last nine games entering Wednesday, but Crimson Tide fans nervously dreaded a bad showing against a team that could sink its computer metrics. Sure enough Alabama came out flat and allowed 15 points in the first five minutes. The Tide tried coasting home over the last 3:45 and gave up another dozen points. In between, Alabama combined equal doses of stingy defense and horrible decisions from the Bulldogs to blow the game open. Georgia shot just 29-for-71 from the field and allowed 22 points on 13 turnovers.
What was the best part of the game?: Welcome back Tevin Mack. After scoring 24 combined points his last three games, Mack erupted for a season-high 25 against UGA, including 10 points in the first 3-plus minutes of the second half to break the game open. Mack made 10 field goals, including 5-for-7 from 3-point range, and also added six rebounds and two assists. It was the first time he made more than one 3-pointer since the Kentucky game back on Jan. 5.
Who was the star?: Kira Lewis took full advantage of Georgia’s backcourt woes to match his season high with 24 points. When he wasn’t blowing by defenders at will for easy layups, he was making sharp passes to ring up seven assists, while only turning it over once on a palming call in the dying minutes. Lewis also had four assists and two steals in his smoothest game in months.
What were the biggest concerns?: Donta Hall had a subpar showing against Georgia big man Nicolas Claxton, and the Tide was lucky that it wasn’t more costly. Hall picked up two quick fouls and only got to play six scoreless minutes in the first half. Galin Smith was surprisingly effective but only lasted five minutes before a possible concussion ended his night prematurely. Alex Reese got shredded by the Dawgs frontcourt, to the point Daniel Giddens had to make a rare appearance. Hall picked up a third foul early in the second half but played through it and salvaged three points and eight rebounds. If Georgia’s guards had been patient enough to continue feeding the paint instead of jacking up poor quality 3-point tries (the Bulldogs went 6-for-25 from deep) it could have meant real trouble for Alabama.
What’s next?: In another high-risk, no-reward matchup, Alabama travels to Vanderbilt Saturday night hoping to avoid becoming the Commodores’ first conference victim of the year. Tipoff on the SEC Network is at 7:30 p.m. Central.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris
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