Georgetown Defeats Alabama, 57-55

Alabama has all sorts of promotions during basketball games, including one in which a student has a chance to hit a free throw, a three-point short, and a half court shot for prizes. It almost never happens, but it did Thursday night. Anthony Grant could only dream of his players shooting so well.

Alabama played its usual good defense, but had a poor offensive performance for most of the night against Georgetown and the 12th ranked Crimson Tide took a heart-breaking 57-55 defeat at the hands of the Hoyas in Coleman Coliseum.

Alabama had fought back from a nine-point (54-45) second half deficit with less than three minutes to play to take a 55-54 lead on two free throws by Trevor Releford with 12.7 seconds to play.

The Hoyas worked it down for a screened three-pointer from the corner by Hollis Thompson, who hit the game-winner with 1.8 seconds to play.

Bama freshman Levi Randolph's desperation shot from past half court was just off the mark, off the glass and off the rim.

The loss was Alabama's first of the year in eight outings and snapped a 24-game home court winning streak for the Tide. Georgetown improved to 5-2 in this Southeastern Conference vs. Big East contest.

Alabama's next action will be next Wednesday, Dec. 7, when the Tide goes to Dayton. Tipoff will be at 6 p.m. CST. Dayton is the alma mater of Bama Coach Anthony Grant. Bama returns home Dec. 11 against Detroit.

Alabama-Georgetown Statistics

Following the game, Grant said, "I have to give Georgetown a lot of credit. They made the plays they needed to make. For us, too many breakdowns in the first half on offense and too many defensive breakdowns in the second half." He said the defensive breakdowns included giving the Hoyas four uncontested three-point shots (among the five made by Georgetown in the second half) and a handful of backdoor layups in the second half.

He said, "We've got to do a better job of how to live in the details when we get in that situation."

"He added, "Don't get me wrong. Georgetown earned the win. But you can't afford those breakdowns against a good team."

Alabama was playing from behind almost the entire game after a woeful first half in which Bama managed only 16 points and trailed by seven at intermission. The Tide spent 20 minutes in the middle of the game, the last eight of the first half and first 12 of the second half, trailing the Hoyas.

In the second half, some explosive dunks by Tony Mitchell and timely shots by freshman back-up guard Trevor Lacey got the Tide back into the game with a chance to win.

Lacey made a three-point shot after Alabama had missed 11 in a row to start the game and then made one other. Mitchell made a trey with 1:20 to play to close the Georgetown margin to 54-52. With just under a minute to play Mitchell hit one of two free throws to pull to within one point.

After Georgetown's Henry Sims took a somewhat wild, off-the-mark shot, Alabama was going to set up for a final shot. But Releford was fouled 15 feet from the basket, the Hoyas' 10th foul, giving him two free throws and setting up the dramatic finish.

Alabama was led by Mitchell with 20 point and nine rebounds. JaMychal Green, who was playing at the end with four fouls, had 13 points. Releford had nine points and Lacey had eight, all in the second half.

Georgetown was led by Jason Clark with 22 points, Sims with 13, and Thompson with 12.

The first half would have been all Georgetown except that it was really only a matter of the Hoyas being slightly more efficient than Alabama. The Hoyas scored the final seven points of the first half to take a 23-16 lead.

Ordinarily, holding a team to 23 points in a half would be more than satisfactory, But that presumes playing decent offense, which Alabama did not do.

Bama could not solve the zone defense of Georgetown, shooting only 31.6 per cent from the field in the first half (6-19). Actually, the Tide shot well on two-pointers, but was 0-9 on three-point shots, and having to take the three-pointers -- frequently as the shot clock was winding down--because the Tide could not get inside.

With just under five minutes to play, Bama had one of its few first half successes, a nice pass on the inside to Nick Jacobs for a short jump hook that tied the score at 16-16. From that point, Bama missed its final six shots of the half and had two turnovers.

Alabama hit only 19-43 field goals (44.2 per cent) for the game, while the Hoyas were good on 21-48 for 43.8 per cent. Georgetown made 7-17 three-pointers (41.2 per cent), Bama only 3-16 (18.8 per cent). The Hoyas made 8-10 free throws, the Tide 14-19.

Georgetown had a 29-28 rebounding advantage. There were five ties in the game and nine lead changes.

Alabama had a slight 28-24 advantage on points in the paint and 12-4 off turnovers, 8-4 second chance, and 6-0 fast break.

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