March 5, 2011 10:08:00 PM
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- JaMychal Green, Charvez Davis, and University of Alabama men''s basketball team climbed out of a recent funk in a big way.
Green had 19 points and nine rebounds, Davis scored 17 and the Crimson Tide hung on for a 65-57 win against Georgia on Saturday to rebound from a 27-point humbling at No. 14 Florida and boost its NCAA tournament hopes.
"I think there was a lot of disappointment in terms of our last game," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "The challenge was to regroup and refocus. I''m just so proud of our guys that they were able to do that.
"Once we got on the practice floor, you could see that they had moved on and they understand."
Davis hit four second-half 3-pointers and the Tide (20-10, 12-4 Southeastern Conference) held off Georgia''s comeback attempt.
The Bulldogs (20-10, 9-7) cut an 11-point deficit down to 62-57 on Trey Thompkins'' 3-pointer with 32 seconds left to cap an 8-2 run.
Then, Andrew Steele hit two free throws and Green made one while Georgia missed its final two shots.
The win meant Alabama, which finishes 16-0 at Coleman Coliseum, could have shared the SEC title with the Gators if they had lost to Vanderbilt a few hours later. Florida won 86-76 to claim the championship outright.
Regardless, Grant left the arena pleased. "I thought it was an incredible effort by our guys today," he said.
It''s the Crimson Tide''s first 20-win season in three years, but two straight losses and modest power ratings had weakened Alabama''s NCAA tournament chances. The Bulldogs had bolstered their case with two straight double-digit wins.
"I think they are (tournament worthy) and I think we are, too," Georgia coach Mark Fox said.
His team could have stayed alive for a possible No. 2 seed in the SEC tournament with a win.
Crimson Tide players celebrated on the court with some dance moves. Grant took the microphone after the game to thank a fourth consecutive sellout crowd, most of which stuck around to hear his message.
It was a bounce-back game for Green and Davis, not just the Crimson Tide.
Green was coming off a 5-of-19 shooting performance in Gainesville, Fla., and was a force despite being limited to 24 minutes because of foul trouble.
"He wore us out inside," Fox said. "He really played well. He whooped us."
Tony Mitchell had 13 points, 11 rebounds and three steals for Alabama. Davis also had four assists and was 5-of-10 from 3-point range in the senior''s regular-season home finale. He had made just one 3 in his last four games, but assistant coach John Brannen and video coordinator James Kane showed him clips of his shots.
"I just had to flush it out of my system and just go to the next game," Davis said. "Coach just always tells me my shots will be there."
Thompkins led Georgia with 15 points and 10 boards, scoring 11 in the second half. Travis Leslie also had 15 points but committed six of the Bulldogs'' 16 turnovers.
Dustin Ware finished with 11 points and made three of Georgia''s four 3-pointers.
"They had an edge to them," Fox said of the Crimson Tide. "They played with a determination about them. I don''t know if they played with more. I think we played hard, but we didn''t play with a lot of execution at times. They did play really hard."
Crimson Tide post players Green and Chris Hines spent much of the second half in foul trouble.
Hines fouled out with 6 minutes, 43 seconds left, forcing Grant to re-insert Green with his four fouls. He managed to avoid picking up another.
Davis hit three threes in four minutes after the Bulldogs pulled to within 32-31 on Leslie''s drive with 14:30 remaining, two of them coming from about the same spot in the left corner.
"We definitely didn''t know he could shoot that well," Leslie said.
Trevor Releford''s drive then capped an 18-9 run and put Alabama''s lead back at 50-40 with 8:42 left and the best Georgia could do was cut it in half.
The Bulldogs led by eight points early, but Alabama took the lead with an 18-4 run sparked by Green''s eight points and went into the half up 27-21.
It was the fewest points Georgia had managed in a half this season.
"We had a lot of mental mistakes," Leslie said. "We had a lot of turnovers. Our shots weren''t falling. It just wasn''t going our way, and they played harder than we did."