No. 4 Alabama men use scoring surges to beat Arkansas; Georgia also wins

AP photo by Michael Woods / Alabama forward Brandon Miller tries to dribble past Arkansas guard Davonte Davis during Wednesday night's game in Fayetteville, Ark.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — No. 4 Alabama went on a 16-4 run midway through the second half and an 11-0 run late to beat No. 15 Arkansas 84-69 on Wednesday and stay unbeaten in Southeastern Conference men's basketball this season.

The Crimson Tide (14-2, 4-0) shot 5-for-6 from the floor during one stretch in the middle of the second half; Arkansas was just 1-of-7 during Alabama's run as a tie game turned into a 12-point lead for the visitors.

The Razorbacks (12-4, 1-3) pulled within two points with 4:30 left after making five straight shots from the floor to close the gap. Alabama followed with 3-pointers on its next three possessions, including two by Brandon Miller, to sap the energy from home crowd and rebuild the lead to double digits.

"We've been good in tough games," Alabama coach Nate Oats said. "I thought the loss to UConn really showed our guys if you're not tough, you're not going to be able to win these big games."

Alabama struggled during the period when its best player did, too. Miller, who entered as the top scorer in the SEC this season by averaging 18.1 points per game, was without a shot through the first half and the Tide were tied at the break.

Mark Sears did most of the offensive damage for Alabama early and plenty late as he scored a game-high 26 points. Noah Clowney added 15 and Miller finished with 14.

"Offensively, we needed someone to score the ball," Oats said. "Sears can make shots. We needed him to shoot it. He got downhill and scored the ball, both."

Arkansas had four scorers in double figures as Devonte Davis and Jalen Graham led the hosts with 16 apiece, but shooting was the curse as the Razorbacks were just 2-of-10 from 3-point range against Alabama's 9-of-20 game from deep.

Clowney and Miller, both freshmen, made all three of the Tide's 3-pointers in the final run that built their lead back to double digits.

Arkansas was again without its top freshman as guard Nick Smith Jr. remained out with a knee injury. The Razorbacks are just 2-3 since he left during a Dec. 17 win over Bradley.

The Razorbacks started SEC play 0-3 last year before reeling off eight straight wins in league play and a postseason run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament, but injuries and shifting substitution patterns have given this year a different feel.

Georgia 58, Mississippi State 50

ATHENS, Ga. — Terry Roberts scored 16 points, Braelen Bridges added 11 with 10 rebounds, and Georgia beat Mississippi State to extend its home winning streak to 10 games.

Georgia (12-4, 2-1) has doubled its SEC wins total from last season, when the Bulldogs lost 17 games in conference play.

Georgia guard Jabri Abdur-Rahim secured a key rebound after Mississippi State nearly tied it at 48 on a 3-pointer with 1:30 to play. Abdur-Rahim was fouled on the rebound and made two free throws to extend Georgia's edge to 50-45.

Mississippi State's Dashawn Davis sank a wide-open 3, following an offensive rebound, to get within 50-48, but Roberts was fouled at the other end and made two free throws for a four-point lead. Mississippi State missed a shot from behind the arc, and Bridges sealed it with two free throws at 25.7 seconds.

Justin Hill added 12 points and Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe had 10 with seven rebounds for Georgia. Bridges reached 1,000 career points and 500 rebounds in his 100th game.

Shakeel Moore scored 15 points and D.J. Jeffries had 10 points and seven rebounds for Mississippi State (12-4, 1-3).

Both teams shot 30% from the field, and Georgia had 18 turnovers. Mississippi State was undone by going 7-of-22 from the foul line while Georgia made 25 of 31 free throws.

Georgia football coach Kirby Smart sat courtside after leading the Bulldogs to their second straight national championship on Monday night in California.