TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) – Georgia didn’t quit defending without its leading scorer, and J.J. Frazier certainly kept making baskets.
Frazier scored 28 points in his second straight huge performance to lead the short-handed Bulldogs to a 60-55 victory over Alabama Thursday night in a game that could easily have ended as another exasperatingly close defeat.
Frazier scored 11 straight points in the final minutes to help the Bulldogs (16-12, 7-8 Southeastern Conference) hold on after losing most of a 14-point second-half lead. He scored 19 points after halftime to pick up much of the scoring load for an injured Yante Maten, who’s out with a sprained right knee.
Even without him, Georgia never trailed.
“Yan doesn’t make every play. Yan doesn’t make every rebound,” Frazier said. “That’s why we’re a team. We’re confident without him.”
Fresh from a season-best 36-point effort in a loss to No. 11 Kentucky, Frazier made 3 of 4 free throws in the final 50 seconds. Alabama (16-11, 9-6) missed a couple of 3-point attempts and Juwan Parker made 1 of 2 foul shots.
Frazier was 10-of-17 shooting after Alabama held him to four points in the first meeting, a Tide victory.
“He was able to get it and get off the ball screen and get in open space because we were playing smaller players and we just basically covered the 3-point line up with some shooters,” Georgia coach Fox said.
Parker scored nine points while Derek Ogbeide had seven points and nine rebounds for Georgia.
Ar’Mond Davis scored 17 points on 7-of-18 shooting to lead Alabama. Braxton Key had 14 of his 16 points in the second half while Donte Hall had 11 points and nine rebounds.
Alabama started a rally by hitting six straight shots and eventually cut the margin to one point a number of times. Georgia kept answering.
Tyree Crump hit back to back 3-pointers for his only baskets of the game before Frazier resumed blowing past defenders on his way to the basket.
“We needed some scoring punch there, and Tyree’s a great shooter,” Fox said.
Alabama made 21 of 63 shots (33.3 percent) and was just 4 of 23 (17 percent) from 3-point range.
The Bulldogs led 30-18 at halftime, and it could have been worse. Avery Johnson Jr. stole the ball and Davis finished with a dunk at the buzzer. It still matched the low first-half point total for Alabama, which poured in 41 by halftime in winning the first meeting.
Tide coach Avery Johnson said his team came out “very lethargic” offensively.
“We just didn’t have a good first half by any stretch of the imagination, especially offensively,” Johnson said.
Georgia: Was minus Maten, who was hurt early in an 82-77 loss to No. 11 Kentucky. William Jackson Jr. started in a smaller lineup and scored six points. … Made 23 of 49 shots, a 46.9 percent clip.
Alabama: Had won two straight games. … Tide started 2-of-16 shooting over the first 10 minutes and missed its first seven 3-point attempts. … Shot 22.6 percent (7 of 31) in the first half.
“I just don’t think we came ready to play,” Key said. “Our intensity wasn’t very good. Defensively, I thought we were OK, but offensively it was just one pass and shooting. We weren’t moving the ball and playing as a team like we did against LSU.”
Georgia: Hosts LSU, which has lost 14 straight games.
Alabama: Travels to Texas A&M in the team’s second-to-last road game.