In Birmingham, guards Vern Fleming and Gerald Crosby scored 22 and 21 points, respectively, to lead Georgia to an 86-71 victory over Alabama and its first SEC tournament championship.

Georgia (21-9) trailed by two at halftime and was tied at 43 with 15:29 left. The Bulldogs then began to pull away from the defending tournament champions, who were playing their fourth game in four days and sixth in 10 days.

Fleming had 12 in the second half. He scored 62 in three days and was voted the most valuable player.

Georgia Coach Hugh Durham knew why it looked so easy in the end.

"Alabama did a heck of a job, but it's hard to stay out there when they're shooting 84 percent against you," he said. Georgia made 22 of 26 shots in the second half.

"We had a strong first half," said the Alabama coach, Wimp Sanderson. "We were live-legged. But this was our fifth emotional game in eight days and we weren't patient enough in the second half."

Alabama (20-11) had beaten Auburn a week earlier to end its SEC season, and as one of the bottom seeds had to defeat Auburn again, SEC champion Kentucky and Mississippi State to gain the final.