TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (Ticker) -- Jarvis Hayes helped show Alabama just how tough the East Division of the Southeastern Conference is.
Hayes scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half as No. 24 Georgia handed the Crimson Tide a damaging blow to their NCAA Tournament hopes with a 74-69 victory.
Georgia (15-7, 7-4 SEC East) improved to 5-0 against West Division opponents. The top four teams in the East are 17-0 against the other division.
"We played good as a team tonight and we are getting back to where we want to be," Hayes said.
Alabama (14-8, 4-7 West) was ranked as high as third this season but has lost seven of its last 10 games. The Crimson Tide continued their free fall with poor 3-point shooting, converting just 2-of-13 in the first half and 5-of-23 for the game.
"We found ourselves tonight where we had opportunities to help ourselves and missed a lot of shots, shots that we need to step up and make to be a really good basketball team," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said.
Jonas Hayes scored six points in a 14-2 run to close the first half as Georgia took a 39-27 lead into the locker room. Ezra Williams nailed a pair of key 3-pointers, including one that provided a 33-27 edge.
"That hurt us a lot," Alabama guard Antoine Pettway said. "We had a lot of mental breakdowns, like fouls right before the half."
Jarvis Hayes scored eight points in a 19-6 tear that gave the Bulldogs their largest lead at 60-41 with 8:32 remaining. Jonas Hayes capped the run by putting home a follow shot.
Alabama staged a late rally and got within 73-69 on Mo Williams' layup with 27 seconds left. Ezra Williams missed a pair of foul shots, giving Alabama a chance to get closer.
But Mo Williams had the ball stripped by Ezra Williams, who was fouled and made 1-of-2 at the line to seal the victory. Georgia survived 5-of-11 foul shooting in the final minute, including four misses by Ezra Williams.
"When I was dribbling, (Erwin) Dudley came in and hit my arm," Ezra Williams said. "That's why when I went to the free-throw line, I was shaking it. I had no feeling in my hand. But we got the 'W,' so it really doesn't matter."
Jarvis Hayes, a junior guard who stated earlier this week that he plans to return to school, displayed some of his NBA potential. He made 10-of-17 shots and also grabbed seven rebounds in his eighth effort of 20 points or more.
"This is the first time I've played the way I wanted to play in quite some time," Jarvis Hayes said. "It felt good to get back to that level."
Alabama hoped that a visit by Georgia, the SEC's worst team in scoring defense, would cure some of its offensive woes. But the Crimson Tide shot just under 29 percent (8-of-28) in the first half and never got untracked.
"Our defense for the first 35 minutes was outstanding," Georgia coach Jim Harrick said. "In the first half, we held them to 28. This is the kind of basketball that I expect our team to play."
The Crimson Tide scored seven straight - all at the line - as they forged a 25-25 tie with 3:40 left. Harrick was whistled for a technical in the midst of the burst.
But Georgia took the lead for good on the strength of the play of Ezra Williams and Jonas Hayes. Williams contributed 16 points and Hayes, Jarvis' twin brother, added nine off the bench.
"They are a very explosive team, a very good offensive team and to play a team like Georgia, you have to be able to match, at some point, some of their offense," said Gottfried, an assistant to Harrick on UCLA's 1995 championship team.
Steve Thomas grabbed nine rebounds and Chris Daniels added eight as Georgia held a 41-33 edge on the glass. Daniels was the third player in double figures with 11 points for the Bulldogs.
Mo Williams scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half and Dudley fouled out with 19 points and six rebounds for Alabama. The Tide used their defense to stay in the game, scoring 20 points off 16 turnovers.
Alabama, which is 0-6 on the road, fell to 12-2 at home. It dropped to 0-4 against East Division foes and visits Tennessee on Saturday.