Alabama basketball was on fire from the 3-point line Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa, hitting 18 shots from beyond the arc and scorching Georgia, 115-82.
The No. 11-ranked Crimson Tide’s point total represented a program record for most in an SEC game as Alabama improved to 17-5 and 12-1 in league play.
Georgia (12-8, 5-8) simply could not keep up with the Crimson Tide’s NBA-like offense. Alabama hit 18 of 30 attempts from 3-point range, with 8 different players making 3-point shots.
“We didn’t get the ball stopped in transition, and that’s when the over-helping starts,” UGA coach Tom Crean said. “They move the ball extremely well. He did not put a guy on the floor until the very end of the game that can’t make threes.”
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, were 2-of-19 shooting the 3, and KD Johnson was the only UGA player to connect (2-7) while seven others attempted treys and missed.
“We have to be better there, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Crean said. “There’s no doubt we have to get better shooting the ball now and over the long-term, and we have to find ways to overcome it when we’re not.”
Johnson led the Bulldogs with 24 points on 6-of-15 shooting, while Sahvir Wheeler scored 16 points before fouling out with 4:23 left and UGA down 95-73.
Toumani Camara was the most efficient of the Bulldogs with his sixth double-double of the season. Camara had 12 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocked shots with no turnovers.
Indeed, Georgia actually had fewer turnovers (13) than Alabama (18), and score 16 points on the fast break to the Tide’s 12.
But the Tide’s 3-point shooting was too much from the onset.
“We did not challenge shots well enough,” Crean said. “Because we didn’t get the ball stopped and they were rotating it, we overhelped and they were hot (shooting).”
Alabama was a blazing 11-of-17 (64.7) shooting the 3-pointer in the first half, draining seven consecutive threes at one point.
Herbert Jones scored 17 of his team-high 21 points through the first 20 minutes on 6-of-8 shooting including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
Georgia had gotten off to a good start in Tuscaloosa, as the game was tied at 10-10 five minutes in, Camara having scored six points.
Johnson and Wheeler had 10 points apiece in the first half, but the UGA graduate transfers looked outmatched.
PJ Horne (0-1) and Justin Kier (0-4) failed to score in the first half and Andrew Garcia had 4 points on 1-of-3 shooting. Horne finished scoreless, Kier had 3 points on 1-of-6 shooting and Garcia ended up with 7 points on 2-of-4 shooting.
“I believe in all three of those guys,” Crean insisted after the game. “The last thing we can afford to have happen, is losing confidence in them.”
The Bulldogs simply could not match Alabama’s perimeter shooting, missing its first nine shots from 3-point range before finishing the half just 1-of-10 from three.
The Bulldogs return to action at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday against No. 10-ranked Missouri before a trip to Gainesville to play Florida at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday.