ATLANTA, Ga. – The Alabama men's basketball team overcame a 14-point second-half deficit to force overtime against Georgia before defeating the Bulldogs 65-59 in a thrilling quarterfinal matchup in the Southeastern Conference Tournament at the Georgia Dome on Friday.
The Crimson Tide trailed 48-34 with just under seven minutes to play before outscoring the Bulldogs 19-5 down the stretch, capped by freshman guard Trevor Releford's scooping layup with 4.2 seconds, to tie the score at 53 and send the game into overtime. Alabama (21-10, 12-4 SEC) scored the final six points of overtime, holding UGA scoreless over the final 2:42, to advance to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament.
"I'm very proud of our guys," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "The fight that our guys showed tonight was impressive. The way we persevered and stayed together makes me as a coach extremely proud. Our guys just continued to fight and believe in each other and found a way to get it done."
Junior forward JaMychal Green led the Tide with 20 points and 13 rebounds to go along with five blocks and four steals while senior guard Charvez Davis scored 15 points. Sophomore forward Tony Mitchell added 10 points, including a key three-point bucket in overtime, for Alabama, who improves to 5-2 versus the SEC East this season.
Green logged a season-high 43 minutes while Releford played 41 minutes for the Tide, just one shy of his career-high. Alabama limited UGA to just three field goals over the final combined 11:58 of the second half and overtime, outscoring the Bulldogs 31-11 during that stretch. Additionally, Georgia was outrebounded for just the sixth time in 32 games this year.
"I take my hat off to Georgia, I thought they played extremely well today," Grant said. "They're a very talented team, they had a great year and that's what SEC basketball is all about."
Trailing 30-21 at halftime, Alabama got within six points on two different occasions before a 12-4 UGA run, spanning nearly eight minutes of the second half, gave the Bulldogs a 48-34 lead. From there, the Tide defense forced four Georgia turnovers while holding the Bulldogs to just one field goal in mounting its furious comeback.
A tip-in by senior forward Chris Hines with 54 seconds preceded Releford's driving layup that sent the game into overtime. Once in overtime, Green and Hines combined for the Tide's first six points before Mitchell's three-pointer at the 1:35 juncture gave Alabama a 62-59 lead. The Tide held UGA to 0-of-5 shooting, while forcing two turnovers, over the final minute of overtime to seal the victory.
The Crimson Tide will face Kentucky in the tournament's first semifinal game Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for noon (CST) with the game being televised by ABC.