There was a rare December buzz in Coleman Coliseum on Thursday night.
The first non-conference sellout in nine seasons arrived early with Georgetown making its first Tuscaloosa visit.
The full house witnessed something that hasn’t happened in two seasons an Alabama home loss.
The Hoyas ended the Crimson Tide’s 24-game Coleman Coliseum winning streak with a thrilling 57-55 victory secured with a last-second shot. Hollis Thompson nailed a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left and survived a half-court shot from Levi Randolph that bounced off the rim.
Trevor Releford’s two free throws with 12.7 left had the packed house ready to explode before Hoya coach John Thompson III called a timeout. The play he called had Hollis Thompson coming off a screen right in front of the bench for the game-winner.
Thompson III said the final play called for Jason Clark to penetrate, but when he didn’t have a shot, the ball went to the well-defended Hollis Thompson on the wing. There was no lack of confidence from the sharp-shooter.
“Hollis knew it was going in when he came out of the timeout,” Thompson III said with a smile.
Alabama coach Anthony Grant said two Tide defenders didn’t properly switch men on the play to leave the shooter open.
No. 12 Alabama (7-1) struggled with the Georgetown zone defense all night. The troubles were amplified by missing its first 11 attempts from 3-point range.
The zone defense doesn’t allow for much blocking out and Tony Mitchell made the Hoyas pay early in the second half. He had two follow slams among his team-high 20 points to cut a 7-point halftime deficit down to a 26-25 hole early in the second half.
Trevor Lacey then scored eight of 10 points to give Alabama its first lead in 22 minutes. Georgetown countered and appeared to have things in control by taking a 54-45 lead with 2:55 left. But JaMychal Green, Mitchell and Releford scored the next 10 points to five the Tide that 55-54 lead in the closing seconds.
The Tide had all the momentum in the open moments. It quickly out to 7-2 lead with a few transition baskets. A Trevor Releford-to-Tny Mitchell ally-oop nearly blew the roof off the packed house.
But Georgetown’s long-armed zone defense created issues for an Alabama offense that missed its all nine 3-point attempts in the first half. The average Alabama possession lasted 31 seconds, leading to just 24 touches. It averages 65.7 a game.
“I think our guys were pretty attentive to their scorers,” Thompson III said. “That’s a tough team, man. You don’t get anything easy when you’re on offense.”
Trailing 23-16 at halftime after a 10-2 Hoya run, Alabama was shooting just 31.6 percent (6-for-19) from the field.
The Hoyas (6-1) weren’t much better, making 9-of-23 shots, but Jason Clark hit both of his 3-point attempts.
Each of six Hoya 3-pointers killed Alabama, which finished 3-for-15 from behind the arc.
Clark was 4-for-7 from long range and scored 22 to lead all scorers. Green added 13 and Lacey had eight for the Tide.
Alabama travels to Dayton on Dec. 7 before returning to Coleman Coliseum next Sunday to face Detroit.
Thompson 5-13 0-0 12, Lubick 1-1 0-0 2, Sims 5-10 3-4 13, Starks 1-6 1-2 3, Clark 7-11 4-4 22, Whittington 1-2 0-0 3, Hopkins 0-0 0-0 0, Porter 1-5 0-0 2, Trawick 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-48 8-10 57.
Green 5-7 3-4 13, Mitchell 9-13 1-2 20, Releford 2-5 5-6 9, Randolph 0-5 1-2 1, Cooper 0-3 2-2 2, Hankerson Jr. 0-1 0-0 0, Lacey 2-5 2-3 8, Eblen 0-0 0-0 0, Jacobs 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 19-43 14-19 55.
Halftime--Georgetown 23-16. 3-Point Goals--Georgetown 7-17 (Clark 4-7, Thompson 2-5, Whittington 1-1, Starks 0-4), Alabama 3-16 (Lacey 2-5, Mitchell 1-3, Hankerson Jr. 0-1, Cooper 0-2, Releford 0-2, Randolph 0-3). Fouled Out--None. Rebounds--Georgetown 29 (Thompson 8), Alabama 28 (Mitchell 9). Assists--Georgetown 13 (Sims, Thompson 3), Alabama 10 (Releford 6). Total Fouls--Georgetown 16, Alabama 13. A--15,383.