ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Herbert Jones had two baskets in a 9-0 run to open the second half that gave No. 8 Alabama the lead, and the SEC champion Crimson Tide beat Georgia 89-79 on Saturday.
Jahvon Quinerly led five Alabama scorers in double figures with 18 points. John Petty Jr. had 15 and Jaden Shackelford finished with 14.
Alabama (21-6, 16-2) matched its school record for Southeastern Conference wins in the 1986-87 season. The Crimson Tide will take a three-game winning streak into next week’s SEC Tournament in Tennessee.
Alabama led 82-79 before Keon Ellis sank a 3-pointer with 46 seconds remaining. It was one of eight 3s in the second half for the Crimson Tide after they managed only two in the first half.
Georgia (14-11, 7-11) led by 14 in the first half but couldn’t maintain the pace. Sahvir Wheeler led the Bulldogs with 18 points. Freshman K.D. Johnson had 16.
Alabama’s challenge was to avoid a letdown while playing one week after clinching its first SEC regular-season championship in 19 years. The Crimson Tide cut down the nets on their home court after completing a sweep of rival Auburn on Tuesday night.
The poor long-distance shooting by Alabama early in the game created an opening for Georgia to open a 29-15 lead, thanks to a 9-0 run. The Crimson Tide regrouped to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 36-30 at halftime.
Led by Jones, who had 10 points, the Crimson Tide needed only about one minute in the second half to grab the lead. Jones had two baskets and Jordan Bruner sank a 3-pointer in a 9-0 run to open the half.
Alabama appeared to be on the verge of taking control when it stretched the advantage to 55-45. Georgia answered with three quick 3-pointers from Johnson to trim the Crimson Tide’s lead to 57-54.
The Bulldogs briefly pulled within two points but couldn’t complete the comeback. Alabama stretched its advantage back to 10 points at 73-63.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide had an injury scare late in the first half when F Juwan Gary couldn’t put weight on his right leg as he was helped off the court. Gary returned to the game for the final seconds of the half.
Georgia: Making its return following a full week off since a disappointing 91-70 loss to South Carolina, the Bulldogs showed renewed defensive intensity. It was a much stronger outing than in their 115-82 loss at Alabama on Feb. 13.
Alabama will be off until playing its SEC Tournament opener in the quarterfinals on Friday in Nashville.
Georgia will play its first game in the SEC Tournament on Thursday.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25