Solid defense and great rebounding were not enough to overcome a dreadful offensive performance in the first half.
Braxton Key made a shot from his butt with the shot clock expiring early in the game, and you had to think maybe the ball was going to bounce our way that night. Nope. Those would be the only 2 points Key had in the first half as we struggled against the Georgia zone.
Give Georgia some credit for their defense. It was an active zone, and they were ready to play, but we were way too content trying to shoot over it without making any effort to go inside. Dazon Ingram's foul trouble really hurt us. Avery Jr was not 100% and Corban struggled after scoring 15 against these guys in Athens. The offense had no flow without Dazon in the game, and we only managed 18 points in the first half including Davis's dunk at the buzzer.
We made some great adjustments at halftime and started attacking the basket. The dribble drive was reasonably effective at creating open looks. We actually shot fairly well at the free throw line and cut the lead down to 1 point on five different occasions, but we couldn't get the stops when needed and completely choked the last 2 minutes of the game. Every time we got within striking distance JJ Frazier would come up with a big answer. Down 3 with just under a minute left, Davis was open in the corner but a horrible pass from Key led to a turnover, and that was our last good opportunity.
Davis had a great game with 17 points in 32 minutes. His shooting sparked the offense when it was badly needed, but I think his legs tired a bit towards the end as he came up a bit short on his last few 3 point attempts. Key ended up with 16 points and 9 rebounds, and played much better in the second half when he was more aggressive attacking the rim. Donta Hall barely missed a double-double with 11 points and 9 rebounds.
With the loss, we can put the "bubble" talk to bed for a while and focus on making the NIT and SEC tournament seeding. We are now in 5th place, one game behind both South Carolina and Arkansas for the all important 4th seed. We have the tiebreaker with South Carolina but not with Arkansas. South Carolina plays at home against Tennessee tomorrow, then finishes up with the Mississippi schools, $tate in Columbia and Ole Miss on the road. Obviously we have road games at Texas A&M and Tennessee sandwiched between a home date with Ole Miss.
The 6pm tip off was a hindrance to crowd attendance last night. I would guess there were no more than 7,000 or so there, and the student section was less than half full. The faithful were loud and into the game throughout most of the second half, trying unsuccessfully to will the team to finish the come back. I realize this is going to sound like an old man "get off my lawn" rant, but I'd like to give a giant middle-finger to the ass-hats in front of me who apparently buy Tide Pride tickets for the football points and only use them once or twice per year. While I generally like the fact that we allow folks from the rafters to move down closer to the court when people don't show up, last night those seats were used by a family who had the two most obnoxious, worst behaved kids I think I have ever seen. Also, another big middle-finger to the Alabama Department of Transportation for only having one lane open on I-59 north through the construction zone in Cottondale after the game.
Up next, a quick turn-around as we travel to College Station, TX for a 7pm tipoff tomorrow night. I'm looking forward to watching my second game of the year with MSmilie and completing my tour of SEC basketball arenas. Hopefully it will turn out better than my last trip to Texas to watch this team. For those of you with enough sense not to travel to College Station, it will be televised on ESPN2.