Men's Basketball Falls to Georgia



Men's Basketball Falls to Georgia

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - Levi Stukes scored 20 points, Younes Idrissi equaled his career high with 16 and Georgia broke a two-year offensive drought against Alabama, beating the Crimson Tide 88-79 Wednesday night.

The Bulldogs (13-8, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) shot well in the first half - making 11 in a row at one point - then wore down Alabama (11-8, 4-3) over the final 20 minutes with rebounding and defense.

Channing Toney's dunk with 3:51 remaining pushed Georgia to its biggest lead of the game, 75-62. Alabama responded with eight straight points, getting 3-pointers from both Ronald Steele and Jean Felix.

Steele scored a career-best 26 points, but it wasn't enough.

Dave Bliss answered Alabama's spurt with a strong move on the inside, rolling in a shot to give Georgia a 77-70 lead. Then, Stukes knocked the ball away from the Crimson Tide, took off the other way to catch a long pass from Bliss, and finished the play with a thunderous dunk.

Felix gave Alabama a glimmer of hope with another 3, pulling Alabama to 79-73. Georgia's Channing Toney, an 82 percent free-throw shooter, missed the front end of a 1-and-1. But Felix missed a desperation 3 at the other end, and Mike Mercer finished off the Crimson Tide with another dunk.

Stukes was 4-of-5 from 3-point range, while Idrissi handled things on the inside by making 7-of-12 shots and blocking four of Alabama's attempts.

Georgia led 46-38 at halftime - already a striking turnaround from its last two games against the Crimson Tide.

Two years ago, Alabama pulled out an ugly 45-42 victory in Athens. Last year, the Crimson Tide blew out Georgia in Tuscaloosa, 75-47.

This one was much different. Both teams started rather sluggish, then turned it up offensively over the final 10 minutes of the first half.

After the lead switched hands eight times in a two-minute span, Georgia scored nine straight points. The Bulldogs could hardly miss, making 15 of 18 during a span that included their run of 11 in a row.

Georgia finished the half at 56 percent (20 of 36), while Alabama was nearly as good with a 15-of-29 (52 percent) performance.

The Bulldogs trailed off to 37 percent shooting in the second half, but pounded the boards for 23 rebounds - nine at the offensive end. Georgia also disrupted Alabama's offense, finishing with eight blocks and 11 steals.