TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Despite a slow start, the Alabama men’s basketball squad won in dominant fashion over Georgia on Wednesday night, 89-74.
Junior Tevin Mack and freshman Kira Lewis Jr. both had a night to remember, combing to score 49 points.
Mack was 10 of 16 from the floor and 5 of 6 from 3-point range en rout to scoring 25 points, the second-most scored by an Alabama player this season (John Petty, 30 at Tennessee on Jan. 19), while adding six rebounds.
Lewis was equally as good, with 24 points on 10-for-17 shooting and a game-high seven assists.
The home win was just a few days after Alabama's big setback at rival Auburn, making it almost a must win in terms if the Crimson Tide's NCAA Tournament hopes.
“I’m awfully proud of the Alabama Crimson Tide team tonight,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “I talked to them about the way you handle disappointment or disaster is you don’t allow it to hijack your dreams, and we obviously didn’t have a great performance in our last game, but you are going to have to be great role models today, especially to our student body on how to handle disappointment.
“I’m awfully glad the way we handled it.”
The Crimson Tide had a rough start to the game, making sloppy mistakes on offense and failing to rebound consistently. Taking a timeout with 14:57 remaining in the first half, Alabama trailed 15-7, with no sign of momentum. After returning to the court, however, the Crimson Tide went on a 10-0 run to take the lead 17-10.
Sophomore forward Galin Smith was the spark, scoring on a layup and then a dunk to cut the deficit to four points. However, he left the game halfway through the first half with an injury that required concussion protocol.
Smith will be evaluated further Thursday.
While the lead would change a few times during the subsequent minutes, Alabama pulled ahead for good just before halftime, 41-38.
Coming out of the locker room, the Crimson Tide scored six unanswered points, including back-to-back layups by Mack. He followed them up with a pair of 3-pointers, giving Alabama all of the momentum for the rest of the night.
“[The back-to-back 3-pointers] was huge for us,” Mack said. “I think the game was a single-digit game up to that point, and it kinda got us above the hump to get into double-digits, and we kinda kept it like that from there on out.”
With the win, Alabama improved to 14-8 on the season, 5-4 in SEC play. Georgia is 10-12 (1-8). The Bulldogs were led by senior forward Derek Ogbeide’s 17 points, while sophomore forward Nicolas Claxton had 12 points and nine rebounds.
Alabama returns to action this Saturday when it visits Vanderbilt in Nashville. The game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. CT tip (SEC Network).