Alabama men’s basketball suffers worst loss of the season

Alabama guard Keon Ellis (14) makes a play at the rim in the Crimson Tide’s 82-76 loss to Georgia on Tuesday night at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, GA.

Courtesy of UA Athletics

Alabama guard Keon Ellis (14) makes a play at the rim in the Crimson Tide’s 82-76 loss to Georgia on Tuesday night at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, GA.

Austin Hannon, Staff Reporter

The insufferable losses for the Alabama Crimson Tide continue.

Despite opening the day as a 14.5-point favorite, the Crimson Tide (13-7, 4-4) dropped in a disappointing effort to the Georgia Bulldogs (6-14, 1-6), 82-76.

Going into Tuesday, the Bulldogs were dead last of all power conference teams in KenPom at No. 229. Tuesday’s loss was the worst of the KenPom era for Alabama, which started in 2002.

Georgia has lost to Wofford, George Mason, East Tennessee State and Gardner-Webb.

All that mattered Tuesday night was beating Alabama. For Bulldog fans, that will do for now. Chants of “just like football” poured in from the Stegeman Coliseum crowd.

“Disappointing loss, with Georgia winless in the SEC,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “The biggest problem is our energy and effort. My biggest job is putting guys on the floor that care about their teammates, and obviously I haven’t done a good job of that.”

Once again, the offense wasn’t horrible. Jaden Shackelford scored 20 points, and Keon Ellis scored 15. The Crimson Tide finished with 76 points against the 313th-rated defense in the country.

The problems for Alabama still reside on the defensive end and the overall effort. Georgia shot 44.6% from the field and knocked down eight 3-pointers. Bad movement on defense led to 24 made free throws for the Bulldogs.

“It’s disappointing,” Oats said. “All of my teams, we’ve always prided ourselves on being the hardest-playing team.”

The Crimson Tide even led 41-32 in the rebounding column, but it didn’t matter. Alabama let the game slip away to the tune of 19 turnovers.

“When you’re so concerned with the wrong stuff, some of the turnovers are so mind-boggling,” Oats said. “It’s hard to win a game with 19 turnovers.”

Alabama has spent the past two games without forward Juwan Gary, who is out with a facial contusion. The Crimson Tide lost guard Darius Miles Saturday night to a knee sprain, although it is not expected to be serious.

“Their doctors said everything felt solid,” Oats said. “We’re calling it a knee sprain.”

After winning two straight games, the Crimson Tide have once again hit rock bottom. Alabama will face No. 4 Baylor on Saturday, followed by No. 1 Auburn and No. 12 Kentucky. 

Oats still believes in his team.

“I’ll never give up on a team,” Oats said. “We’re never going to stop coaching. We’ve shown the capability of this team. We just haven’t played well here in January.”

We will see if his team still believes when they face off against No. 4 Baylor as part of the SEC-Big 12 Challenge.

Tipoff at Coleman Coliseum is Saturday, Jan. 29, at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN.