Win streak comes to an end as Bulldogs fall to Alabama

Heavy rain fell in Athens much of Tuesday.

AJ Reynolds/Staff
Georgia guard Charles Mann (4) reacts while Alabama guard Trevor Releford (12) shoots a free throw during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Athens, Ga., Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. Alabama won 52-45.

But Georgia couldn’t blame its sluggish offense on mud in Stegeman Coliseum.

Alabama beat Georgia 52-45 to snap the Bulldogs’ five-game winning streak and much of the reason was poor shooting.

“We didn’t play offense very good in this game,” Georgia guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said. “We were rushing everything. We were taking some dumb shots. We were turning the ball over instead of protecting the ball and our shot selection wasn’t very good.”

Georgia (12-12, 6-5 in the Southeastern Conference) scored its fewest points since getting 45 in a loss to Florida the game before the winning streak started. Georgia coach Mark Fox was in no mood to talk and walked out of his post-game press conference after 1 minute, 22 seconds.

“I did not like our energy level,” Fox said. “I didn’t think we had a very good spirit about us tonight, but we’ve got to be more mature than that. We had some unintelligent plays throughout the game. You’ve got to give Alabama credit for their defense, but we did some things tonight that we haven’t done for a month.”

The mood in the Georgia locker room was subdued after the game. Georgia led 15-6 with 9:40 left in the first half but Alabama turned the tables and outscored Georgia 46-30 to end the game.

“It was pretty quiet,” Caldwell-Pope said. “He (Fox) just wanted to get into our minds that we needed to come out and play a better half than them. I don’t know what happened. Everything we did, it all backfired on us.”

Georgia took a short-lived 41-40 lead when Donte’ Williams dunked with 2:36 left. But Alabama (16-8, 8-3) responded by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers by Rodney Cooper and Levi Randoph to take a 46-41 lead with 1:36 left and Georgia never challenged again.

“I wouldn’t say we were reverting back to the way we were before,” Djurisic said. “But the game was right there. The game was open for either side to win. But those two threes got the separation.”

Georgia hit 16 of 52 (30.8 percent) from the field in the game and had 11 turnovers. Georgia only had seven field goals in the second half and six of them came in the last 5:37 of the game.

“We didn’t have that confidence shooting,” Georgia Djurisic said. “We didn’t have guys stepping up and making those shots. I didn’t make a three and I shot two. I kind of felt that we were offensively not as confident, maybe not as aggressive would be the right word. We need to get back to finishing the plays the way we know.”

Caldwell-Pope led Georgia with 22 points and eight rebounds, nearly half of Georgia’s output. Djurisic had 12 points with 11 coming in the first half.

“It’s disappointing but we need to get back to guarding and finishing plays like we did the last few games and try to get some momentum back.”

As sluggishly as Georgia played, Alabama almost matched the Bulldogs output. Alabama took a 40-32 lead when Nick Jacobs hit a jumper with 4:54 left. Then Caldwell-Pope went on a personal 7-0 run as he hit a layup, a 3-pointer and a tip-in to pull Georgia within 49-39 with 3:20 left.

“We talked about being aggressive and staying aggressive for the whole 40 minutes,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. “It was great to see our guys stay aggressive like that. Also, it was good to see them make those big shots and fortunately for us, they went in.”

Alabama only had one player in double figures as Cooper scored 14 points and had five rebounds. Alabama (16-8, 8-3) was led by Cooper with 14 points and five rebounds. Randolph scored eight points and had seven rebounds.

“I knew maybe a couple of possessions before that we ran a ball screen up top,” Randolph said of his final 3-pointer. “They threw it back to Coop (Cooper) and Coop drove it and kicked it to me. .. I just tried to step up and knock down a shot for my team.”

Notes: The two teams combined to run the ball over four times before the first bucket of the game, a 3-pointer by Caldwell-Pope with 18:18 left in the first half. … Georgia only had three players score in the first half, Djurisic (11), Caldwell-Pope (eight) and Kenny Gaines (three). … Georgia out-rebounded Alabama 41-33 and outscored the Crimson Tide 16-2 on second-chance points. Georgia’s bench out-scored Alabama’s 15-13 with 12 of that total coming from Djurisic.

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