ATHENS, Ga. – Freshman Braxton Key registered a career-high 26 points to help lift the Alabama men’s basketball team to an impressive 80-60 road victory over the Georgia Bulldogs on Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum. With the win, the Crimson Tide improves to an overall 12-7 record, including a 5-2 mark in Southeastern Conference play.
Alabama had four players finish in double figures. Along with Key’s career-high scoring output, senior Corban Collins and junior Riley Norris registered 15 points each, while senior Jimmie Taylor added 10. Combined, the four Crimson Tide players scored 66 of the team’s 80 points. Sophomore Donta Hall was held scoreless, but finished with a game-high 11 rebounds, while Key nearly earned his first double-double, as he added nine rebounds on the night.
“This was a terrific victory and effort by our guys,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “I thought we were sharp and confident from the start of this game. Obviously in our situation we had a pretty disappointing game last game on the road. We got back up and practiced on Monday and Tuesday, and had a good work out this morning. We were fortunate to win this game. We know didn’t have room for much margin of error, we shot from the three good tonight, played pretty good overall team defense.”
The Tide jumped out an early 6-2 lead going into the first media timeout of the contest. At the midway point of the first half, Alabama held a six-point lead at 15-9. Georgia responded with 6-2 spurt to cut the Tide’s lead to two points, 17-15, forcing an Alabama timeout with 6:56 on the clock. However, Georgia head coach Mark Fox received two technical and was ejected from the game with 1:59 left in the half, helping the Tide to end the half on a 13-3 run to take a 41-27 lead into the locker room.
Tide shot 53 percent from the field in the first half, while dominating the rebound battle by an 18-10 margin. Alabama owned the paint on both ends of the floor, as it outscored its opposition 22-6 in the lane. Key went into the locker room with a game-high 16 first half points, while Taylor and junior Riley Norris followed behind with eight and seven points, respectively.
Alabama did not let up at all to begin the second half as Norris scored five straight points and the Tide was able to extend its lead to 20 points, 59-39, with 10:14 left to play.
Georgia (12-8, 4-4) responded with a 13-2 run to trim the Tide’s lead to 62-52 with five minutes with in regulation. That’s as close as the Bulldogs would come as Alabama was able to hit free throws and get defensive stops down the stretch to result in the final score.
Alabama shot 51 percent from the field in the 40 minute contest, while shooting a season-best 60 percent (9-of-15) from beyond the arc. The Tide also outrebounded the Bulldogs by a 40-27 decision.
The Tide will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 28, when it hosts the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Coleman Coliseum in a game that is set to broadcast on the SEC Network at 5 p.m. CT.