ATHENS — Freshman Trevor Lacey scored a career-high 19 points, all but two of those in the first half, in leading Alabama to a 74-59 win over Georgia on Saturday night in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
Freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also had a career night for Georgia (9-6, 0-1) with 22 points.
The Crimson Tide won their fourth straight game while snapping the Bulldogs' five-game winning streak.
Alabama (12-3, 1-0) got 17 points from Tony Mitchell, who had a big Swainsboro, Ga., cheering section watching. Trevor Releford added 12 for the Crimson Tide.
Lacey outdid his previous career-best of 12 points with 17 first-half points as Alabama led 38-26 at intermission.
Caldwell-Pope led a second-half rally by Georgia, which closed to within four on Donte Williams' stuff tip of his own miss, making it 52-48 Alabama with 9:20 to play.
But Alabama went on a 12-2 run over the next 4 ½ minutes, capped by Mitchell's three-point play with 5:00 to go, to lead 64-50.
"We wanted to get to the position late in the game where we were not in foul trouble and we had a chance to win," said Georgia coach Mark Fox. "And we did, but they made the plays and we didn't."
Georgia opened the game in a zone defense, and the Tide responded by hitting six of 12 3-pointers in the first half.
The teams traded the lead back and forth four times in the early going. Georgia's last lead came at 11-10 when Gerald Robinson beat the shot clock with a layup with 13:08 showing.
The Crimson Tide made three straight 3-point shots in the midst of a 16-4 run that built a 26-15 lead with 6:23 remaining in the half. Lacey's acrobatic scoop and free throw put the Tide up 31-17 at the 4:00 mark.
Caldwell-Pope followed that up by converting a four-point play, but no rally followed.
In the second half, the Bulldogs still trailed 48-37 with 15:36 to play. But an 11-4 run closed the gap to four.
However, the Bulldogs went nearly five minutes between baskets as Alabama ran away.
Robinson chipped in 11 points for Georgia, while Nemanja Djurisic scored 10.
Alabama dominated Georgia in rebounding, 35-20. The Bulldogs played their third straight game without 6-foot-7 Marcus Thornton, their leading rebounder.