Kira Lewis Jr.’s Career High 37 Points Fuels Alabama in Thrilling 105-102 Overtime Victory at Georgia
SOURCE: GEORGIA SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS
The Georgia Bulldogs fell to the Alabama Crimson Tide, 105-102, in a back-and-forth, overtime battle Saturday night in Stegeman Coliseum.
Freshman Sahvir Wheeler had a career-high 24-point performance to pace Georgia in scoring. Freshman Anthony Edwards recorded his third career double-double with 14 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. Other Bulldogs in double figures included junior Rayshaun Hammonds (20) and freshman Toumani Camara (12). This marks Hammonds’ fifth 20-point performance this season and seventh of his career.
Wheeler continued to share the ball well, recording eight assists to become the first UGA freshman with 100 assists in more than a decade. The last freshman to complete the feat was Dustin Ware in the 2008-09 season.
“Our crowd was fantastic,” Georgia Head Coach Tom Crean said. “I’m sorry they’re not walking out of here joyous. They helped keep our energy high, and like I said we did not have that energy in the beginning because Anthony and Rayshaun were dealing with [ailments.] We go as Anthony goes, let’s face it. He’s got a huge leadership role on this team as an eighteen year old because of that energy… I know he’s dealing with a headache and things like that, but to play through it, battle through it like Rayshaun did, those are great things.”
While Georgia opened the game with an early lead, Alabama was able to regain an advantage that they would retain the entire first half with 16:41 to play. Camara and Tyree Crump accounted for Georgia’s first 10 points, tallying six and four, respectively. A three-point shot from Wheeler knotted the game 13-all seven minutes into regulation.
A 2:41 Bulldogs’ scoring drought enabled Alabama to extend its lead to seven. Edwards ended the slump with his first points of the night. Georgia cut its deficit to one, 38-37, with just over two minutes remaining thanks to a shot from behind the arc from Crump.
Though Alabama was able to again extend its lead to six in the final minute, a shot from Edwards sent the Bulldogs into the locker room trailing 45-41.
Out of the locker room, Hammonds drained a 3-pointer on the first possession to get Georgia back within one. The following possession, Wheeler knocked down a three-point shot to push the Bulldogs ahead for the first time since the opening minutes. Edwards followed with a layup to gain the three-point advantage, 49-46. These baskets were all part of the 7-0 Georgia run in under a minute to start the second half.
Wheeler knocked down yet another shot from behind the arc to give the Bulldogs their first double-digit advantage of the contest, 63-53.
The Crimson Tide went on a 15-2 run over 3:11 to regain the one-point advantage, 68-67, halfway through the second period. The game saw back-and-forth action for the ensuing minutes, with two lead changes and two ties.
Despite Alabama pulling away by six with 7:04 remaining, Georgia went on a 6-0 run to tie the game at 83-all.
Alabama never led by more than four in the final four minutes and a jumper from Hammonds tied the game at 92 with 20 seconds remaining. Freshman Mike Peake was able to draw a charge on Alabama’s final possession to send the game into overtime.
Overtime was neck-and-neck with neither team pulling away by more than two for the opening three minutes. Georgia grabbed the early two-point advantage which it held until an Alabama basket with 2:21 remaining gave the Tide a two-point lead.
The Crimson Tide gained the first three-point lead by either team in overtime off a free throw, but Hammonds quickly answered to get back within one. While two made free-throws from Edwards put Georgia at 100 points and within two of the Crimson Tide, the Bulldogs were unable to overcome the deficit, falling 105-102.
Up next, Georgia stays home to host the South Carolina Gamecocks on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 6:30 p.m. This contest will be televised on SEC Network.