TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – J.J. Frazier, the only remaining of Georgia’s two stars, again did everything he could. He hit running layups, drew fouls, hit free throws and carried his team as best he could.
This time, it was enough.
Frazier scored a game-high 28 points to lead Georgia to a critical road win over Alabama, the Bulldogs never trailing in the game despite not having Yante Maten, their leading scorer and rebounder.
Georgia (16-12 overall and 7-8 in SEC play) avenged a 20-point home loss to Alabama last month, and kept its flagging postseason hopes alive. And in so doing it dealt a perhaps decisive blow to the flagging NCAA hopes of Alabama (16-11, 9-6).
– Player of the game: Frazier had to carry the team with Maten out, and he did so, just as he did in last Saturday’s close loss to Kentucky. The senior guard had the pivotal steal and basket to prevent Alabama from taking the lead, then hit a couple key baskets later, and went 3-for-4 from the free throw line in the final minute.
– Stat line of the game: Alabama was a miserable 7-for-31 from the field in the first half, allowing Georgia to pull ahead and lead by 12 at halftime.
– Turning point: Georgia was in danger of falling behind for the first time all game as Alabama went downcourt, trailing by one. But Frazier stripped the ball from behind, turned around and went downcourt for the layup, giving Georgia a 54-51 lead. He wasn’t done: When Alabama whittled it to one again, Frazier made a running scoop layup. And when it was a one-point game with 50 seconds left, Frazier was fouled trying a jumper. He hit both free throws, and on the next possession hit one more to make it a four-point game.
– What’s next: Georgia returns home to face LSU, the SEC’s worst team by record. The struggling Tigers are 1-14 in conference play and 9-18 overall.
– Also: Georgia also got big contributions from Derek Ogbeide (9 rebounds and 7 points), Juwan Parker (9 points and 5 rebounds) and Tyree Crump (two 3-pointers.)