With 11:29 remaining in the game, the Georgia Bulldogs found themselves down 52-39 (and Alabama was already in the bonus shooting free throws). Georgia actually held a one-point lead at the half, but the Alabama Crimson Tide were in the midst of a 23-9 run (and on the brink of handing the Dawgs their 9th SEC loss).
This would have been a perfect time for a team with only 3 conference wins to throw up the white flag.
Unfortunately for the Alabama, Georgia is not that kind of team.
Instead, the Dawgs turned up their defense and road the backs of Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie to a 76-70 victory.
What makes this win even more amazing is the fact that Georgia was horrendous at the foul line. The Dawgs were 13 of 24 from the stripe (54.2%), and Thompkins was one of the main culprits (he hit only 3 of 9).
The free-throw line was Trey’s only flaw, though. Thompkins finished with 21 points and 17 rebounds (a career high), with 15 points and 11 rebounds coming in the second half. He scored 7 points in the game’s final 5 minutes.
Trey’s effort on the defensive glass yesterday, and really all season, is a testament to his overall work ethic. He is the star player on the team, yet no one works harder than Thompkins on securing defensive rebounds.
Travis Leslie scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half, and he finished with 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
Leslie and Thompkins played great, but in my opinion, Chris Barnes saved the day.
Alabama held a 60-54 lead with 6:26 left in the game, and Trey Thompkins was at the line for a one-and-one. Thompkins missed the front-end of the one-and-one, making Georgia now an atrocious 1 of 11 on free throws (and making the comeback seemingly impossible).
But Chris Barnes secured the rebound off the miss, and was fouled by Alabama center Chris Hines (this was Hines’ fifth foul). Chris knocked down both free throws, bringing Georgia within four points.
Following the free throws, the Tide tried to pound the ball inside on its next possession, but their shot attempt was swatted by non other than Chris Barnes.
The Dawgs took the ball down the court and Thompkins converted a basket to bring Georgia within two.
I thought that this little segment of play by Chris Barnes was the play(s) of the game, as it enabled Georgia to get to within two points with 4:54 left (as opposed to being down 8). Barnes scored a season-high 10 points, to go along with 5 rebounds and 3 blocks.
As a team, Georgia shot 54.7% from the field and 55.6% from beyond the arc (some early three’s from McPhee and EA kept Georgia in the game in the first half). The Dawgs only turned it over 14 times – 2.5 times less than their SEC average – and finished with 19 assists (Bama only had 8).
The Dawgs out-rebounded the Tide 38 to 25, and won the points in the paint battle 24 to 14.
Georgia’s defense held Bama to only 40.4% from the floor, and they reject 7 Tide shots!
Georgia is now 4-8 in the SEC, and 12-13 overall (and a shot at reaching the NIT).