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Bulldogs' rally bid falls short against Tide

TUSCALOOSA -- Trevor Releford scored 19 points and hit a buzzer-beating shot from halfcourt as Alabama held off a late Georgia charge for a 61-58 win, boosting its NCAA Tournament hopes with their 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 tournament.

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 on 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.