Tide tops Bulldogs behind big games from Mack, Lewis


CW/ Hannah Saad

Ben Stansell, Assistant Sports Editor

Once Tevin Mack started sinking shots, he didn’t stop.

That was bad news for Georgia.

The junior finished with a season-high and Alabama career-high 25 points, leading the Crimson Tide to an 89-74 win over Georgia in Coleman Coliseum on Wednesday night. Alabama advanced to 14-8 and 5-4 in the SEC with the victory.

“Coaches just always tell me to stay aggressive,” Mack said. “I know the last couple of games I wasn’t shooting the ball enough for them. They told me to stay aggressive and attack and then everything else will come out fine if I just stay aggressive and attack.”

Mack was especially lethal from outside, knocking down 5-of-7 three pointers. He also displayed the type of all-around scoring that helped him lead Texas in points per game during his second season with the Longhorns, finishing 10-of-16 from the field.

“We just challenged him: get back to being a scorer,” coach Avery Johnson said. “Scorers are not just shooters. He’s a guy that’s had some games for us.”

If Mack was Batman, Kira Lewis Jr. was Robbin. Lewis finished with 24 points, tying his season high while shooting 10-17 from the field. He chipped in seven assists and four rebounds as well.

Mack and Lewis led the offensive charge, but Alabama benefitted from an efficient all-around team performance. The Crimson Tide shot a season-high 57 percent from the field. As a result, Alabama finished with its second-highest point total of the season, falling just one-point shy of its 90-point performance in a win over Wichita State earlier this season.

“When we’re clicking, we can be a really dangerous team offensively,” Johnson said. “. . . This team is a much better offensive team, and our quality depth showed tonight.”

Alabama turned in one of its best offensive performances of the season while playing the majority of the game without Donta Hall, its third leading scorer. Hall picked up two fouls early in the first half, and was stuck in foul trouble for the rest of the contest. Despite missing its biggest interior scorer, the Crimson Tide finished with 48 points in the paint.

Lewis was especially effective at scoring around the rim. He consistently blew past or maneuvered his way around Georgia’s defenders and finished with easy layups.

“He is a very, very special player,” Georgia head coach Tom Crean said of Lewis. “There’s nothing 17 years of age about his game. His speed . . . if there’s a quicker, faster, more efficient guard in the country that can go from end-to-end with that type of speed, I’d like to see who it is.”

Even though Hall played just 18 minutes, he snagged a team-high eight rebounds.

Dazon Ingram contributed 11 points and John Petty Jr. had eight off the bench.

After hitting his head on the court during a collision in the first half, sophomore big man Galin Smith was diagnosed with a concussion. He did not return to the court in the second half and will be reevaluated tomorrow.

Alabama will travel to Nashville to play Vanderbilt at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.