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Hoop Hounds Stumble Down The Stretch, Fall To Bama

NCAA Basketball: Alabama at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In what has become a troubling trend of late, Mike White’s Georgia Bulldogs came out of the gate strong against an elite team then faded late, falling at home to #24 Alabama, 85-76.

Georgia opened up a sozeable first half lead as the visitors opened cold as ice. Alabama missed 8 of their first 9 shots. Georgia on the other hand used a 13-0 run to lead 17-2. That included back-to-back 3 pointers from RJ Melendez and Blue Cain to stretch the lead and get the Stegeman Coliseum crowd rocking. Georgia led by 16 at one point before settling into a 41-27 halftime advantage.

Then, it slipped away. The Bulldogs appeared to lose a touch of mental focus, while the Red Elephants got hot from the field, hitting 6 of 12 second half three pointers. The effort was keyed by senior Mark Sears who scored 19 of his game high 23 points in the second half. That included a go-ahead 3-pointer with 4:09 remaining to give the Tide their first lead of the game.

Notably, Georgia also surrendered a season-high 19 turnovers, topping the 18 given up last week in the skin of their teeth 68-66 win over LSU.

The Red and Black fall to 14-7 overall, 4-4 in the SEC. The ‘Dawgs remain in NCAA tournament contention as we near the midpoint of the conference slate.

But that won’t be the case much longer if they can’t figure out how to hold it together down the stretch and pick up wins against top 50 teams. Georgia gave up 27 points in the first half and 58 in the second. If that’s not a collapse, I don’t know what the term means.

To be fair, the Hoop Hounds are as good as they’ve been in years. Tom Crean era Bulldog teams wouldn’t have gotten even close enough to break fans hearts against a team of this quality. These Dawgs are a fun team to watch and they play hard from opening tip to final whistle, something we haven’t always been able to say. But in the SEC good teams will make a run. And until these ‘Dawgs figure out how to withstand those, they’re going to be stuck in the league’s squishy midsection.

South Carolina will visit Stegeman on Saturday looking to avenge the Dawgs’ 74-69 win in Columbia earlier this season. Until later….

Go ‘Dawgs!!!