After a much-needed three-point victory over LSU last weekend, Alabama hits the road tonight to face a scrappy opponent.
The Crimson Tide (15-8, 7-3 SEC) tips off against Georgia (12-11, 6-4) at 8 p.m. CT at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga. The game will be televised by ESPNU.
The Bulldogs, though barely above .500, have won their last five games, which includes wins over Texas A&M (twice), Auburn, South Carolina and Tennessee. The Tide has won three of their last four.
Alabama has struggled offensively as of late. In its last outing against LSU, a 60-57 win, Bama shot a horrid 35.2 percent from the floor, 11.1 percent from 3-point range and 60.6 percent from the free throw line.
In the game before, a 49-37 loss to Auburn, the Tide shot 28.6 percent from the floor and 10.5 percent from 3-point range. They only scored 14 points in the second half.
“It’s no secret, we’ve struggled from an offensive standpoint these last few games,” head coach Anthony Grant said. “There’s ebbs and flows over the course of a game, there’s ebbs and flows over the course of series of games, so I think the thing that we want to do is make sure we’re getting good shots and understanding no matter what happens on the offensive end, we can’t let it affect our focus and effort on the defensive end.
“As long as we continue to play our identity from a defensive standpoint and continue to do the things that we need to do, we feel like we’ll have a chance in every game that we play.”
Georgia is on a hot streak and Alabama will have to play physical basketball to win this game.
The Bulldogs are led by 6-foot-5, 205-pound sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who’s averaging 17.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. He’s ranked in the top five of the SEC in field goal percentage (46%), free throw percentage (81%) and 3-point percentage (38%).
“I think if you look at the success they’ve had of late, I think it’s a direct result of some of the things that he’s done,” Grant said. “He’s efficient on offense and he’s one of the best defenders as well, whether it’s rebounding or guarding the other team’s top scorer.
“At the same time, I think when you look at Georgia, you gotta look at their team. They’re playing 11 guys and those guys seem to understand exactly what they need to do offensively to maintain their efficiency, and they’ve done a really good job.”
Alabama is currently tied with Ole Miss for third place in the SEC.
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