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December 1, 2011

Tide's win streak ends on last-second basket

TUSCALOOSA | When the University of Alabama basketball team reflects on what happened to its 24-game winning streak, it will see Hollis Thompson's 3-point dagger going through the net with 1.8 seconds to play.

But it needs to remember the first half as well.

No. 12 Alabama put itself into a hole, pulled itself out, put itself into another hole, pulled itself out again -- but couldn't hang on in a 57-55 loss to Georgetown at Coleman Coliseum.

The Crimson Tide scored just 16 points in the first half -- including just two in the last 8:11 of the half -- as it struggled to solve Georgetown's zone defense.

"We wanted to protect the paint," said Georgetown coach John Thompson III. "JaMychal (Green) is so good, and then they have Tony down there, so we wanted to protect against that."

"Their zone was tough because of their length," Green said. "They were 6-foot-8, 6-10 in there and it threw us out of whack. We didn't get the ball in the middle and we were too passive."

With a more energetic approach spurred by Tony Mitchell, Alabama regained a 41-40 lead with 7:40 to play, only to see Georgetown respond with a 14-4 run that gave the Hoyas a 54-45 lead with 2:56 to go.

"Tony woke us up," Green said.

The Crimson Tide answered, however, going on a 10-0 run to take a one-point lead on a pair of Trevor Releford free throws with 12.7 seconds remaining.

That only set the stage for Thompson's decisive 3-pointer.

"(Jeremy) Clark came off a ball screen on the top of the key and we switched that, then he dribbled to the corner and handed it off to Thompson and we didn't defend it the way we were supposed to," UA coach Anthony Grant said.

"We were supposed to switch and we didn't," Green said.

Thompson took advantage, hitting the game-winner. UA's Levi Randolph hit the rim with a halfcourt shot at the buzzer, but it bounced away to cap Alabama's first home court loss since February 2010.

"For us there were too many breakdowns in the first half from the offensive standpoint and in the seconds half from the defensive standpoint," Grant said. "Don't get me wrong, they earned the win. But we've got to learn that against a quality team like Georgetown, you can't afford those breakdowns."

Clark led Georgetown with 22 points, including 4-of-7 3-pointers. Henry Sims added 13 points and Thompson had 12 points, including the game-winner.

In addition to Mitchell's 20-point, nine-rebound performance, Green had 13 for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama (7-1) will be idle until Wednesday when it plays its first true road game of the season at Dayton.

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil.hurt@tuscaloosanews.com or 205-722-0225.


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