Crimson Tide guard Trevor Releford (12) celebrates with his teammates after making a shot from mid-court to beat the Georgia Bulldogs, 61-58, on Saturday.
Tuscaloosa, Ala. — Trevor Releford scored 19 points and hit a buzzer-beating shot from half court as host Alabama held off a late Georgia charge to win, 61-58, and boost its NCAA Tournament hopes with its 20th victory.
Alabama (20-11, 12-6 SEC) will be the fourth seed in next week’s SEC tournament in Nashville.
Nick Jacobs added 11 points for the Crimson Tide, who nearly blew a 17-point first-half lead and a 12-point lead early in the second half.
Georgia (15-16, 9-9) battled back in the second half, tying the game at 58 on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s long 3-pointer with 48 seconds left. The Bulldogs forced a turnover and had a shot to win the game, but the Crimson Tide forced the ball loose and Releford’s heave from midcourt was on target.
Caldwell-Pope and Nemanja Djurisic each scored 14 points to lead the Bulldogs, who will be the eighth seed in the conference tourney.
Georgia trailed 13-3 four minutes in and was down 30-13 with three minutes left in the first half. Alabama led 32-18 at halftime.
NOTES: The Crimson Tide receive a bye into the SEC quarterfinals Friday. … Alabama finished 14-for-17 from the free-throw line. … The Crimson Tide won for just the second time in their past five games.
Florida State 71, North Carolina State 67: Michael Snaer scored 17 points - including a late insurance dunk off an inbounds play - as the host Seminoles edged the Wolfpack.
Freshman Devon Bookert added a career-high 18 points for Florida State (17-14, 9-9 ACC), which clinched the sixth seed in next week’s ACC tournament.
Scott Wood poured in 18 points while Lorenzo Brown had 14 points and eight assists - but committed seven turnovers - for North Carolina State (22-9, 11-7), which squandered an opportunity to secure the fourth and final bye in the conference tournament.
The Wolfpack fell into an early eight-point hole with starters C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell battling foul trouble, but Brown and Wood combined for 11 points during a 21-5 surge spanning both halves to take a 45-37 lead with 15:45 remaining. The Seminoles rallied to retake the lead at 57-55 and again at 64-62 on a jumper by Bookert with 2:01 left before Leslie and Bookert exchanged free throws on each team’s next possession.
Following a Wolfpack timeout, North Carolina State blew a defensive assignment on Snaer and Florida State’s leading scorer easily converted a breakaway dunk to stake the Seminoles to a 67-63 advantage. Howell closed the gap with a three-point play on the next possession, but Bookert and Aaron Thomas combined to knock down three free throws over the final 17 seconds to secure Florida State’s fourth straight home win.
Boston College 74, Georgia Tech 72: Joe Rahon scored the go-ahead layup with 1:16 remaining as the host Eagles rallied to beat the Yellow Jackets.
Boston College (15-16, 7-11 ACC) trailed 64-59 with 4:19 to go, but scored the next 12 points to win a matchup of two teams tied in the ACC standings. The Eagles will be the eighth seed entering next week’s ACC tournament; Georgia Tech (16-14, 6-12) drops to ninth and could end up 10th with a Clemson victory later Saturday and a Wake Forest loss Sunday.
Rahon scored 15 points to lead Boston College, which trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half but came back to win its third in a row. Marcus Georges-Hunt led the Yellow Jackets with 16 points.
Georgia Tech, which upset ACC leader and seventh-ranked Miami on Wednesday, pulled within 73-72 on Chris Bolden’s 3-pointer with four seconds left. Down two points with one final shot, Georgia Tech committed its third turnover in the final two minutes as time expired.
Olivier Hanlan added 14 points for the Eagles and Ryan Anderson scored 12. Bolden finished with 12 points and Daniel Miller added 10 for the Yellow Jackets.
Kentucky routs UGA women in SEC semis
DULUTH — DeNesha Stallworth scored 18 points and the Wildcats blitzed the Lady Bulldogs, 60-38, in the second half to advance to the SEC tournament championship game for the third time in four seasons.
A’dia Mathies added 11 points and Jennifer O’Neill scored nine while sparking a decisive run that sent second-seeded Kentucky (27-4) into a matchup with fourth-seeded Texas A&M in Sunday’s SEC title game at Duluth, Ga. The Wildcats beat the Aggies 70-66 on Feb. 18.
Jasmine Hassell had 17 points and nine rebounds to pace cold-shooting Georgia (25-6), which shot 22.2 percent overall and connected on only 1 of 18 3-point attempts.
Despite missing 17 of their first 20 shots, the Lady Bulldogs used a 15-5 spurt en route to a 24-19 halftime lead. After Hassell scored the first basket of the second half, O’Neill buried two 3-pointers and scored eight points in a 15-0 burst to put the Wildcats ahead to stay 34-26.
Stallworth hit back-to-back baskets to cap a 22-3 surge and make it a 41-29 lead for Kentucky, which steadily pulled away and avenged a 75-71 loss to Georgia earlier in the season that snapped the Wildcats’ 34-game home win streak.
Duke women edge FSU in ACC semifinal
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Haley Peters scored 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the top seed Blue Devils held off the Seminoles, 72-66, in the ACC tournament semifinals at Greensboro, N.C.
The sixth-ranked Blue Devils (29-2) will face either Maryland or North Carolina in Sunday’s championship game. Tricia Liston hit three 3-pointers and finished with 17 points for Duke, which advances to the ACC title game for the 12th time.
Chelsea Davis led 23rd-ranked Florida State (22-9) with 17 points.