ATHENS, Georgia – Justin Hill of Georgia scored on a layup with less than five seconds to play to give Georgia a 65-63 win over LSU Tuesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.
The bucket erased what was LSU’s best chance to date in 2023 of getting a Southeastern Conference win as KJ Williams hit a turnaround jump shot with 11 seconds to give LSU a 63-62 advantage.
After timeouts by both teams, LSU attempted a play that was previously seen in the Kansas State game where LSU wanted to throw the ball while out-of-bounds across the baseline and the inbounds pass to center court was turned over and LSU fouled with one second to play.
Hill made one free throw and LSU inbounded and the desperation three-quarter shot was off the mark, ending the game.
“Disappointed. It’s my fault. I wish I could have done a better job for them down the stretch,” said LSU Coach Matt McMahon. “I thought we really executed; KJ (Williams) made a great play to finish there. You know, hindsight is always 20/20, call a timeout in that situation and use the last timeout, but you’ll see in the clip we just didn’t have great discipline in the gaps on that last drive. KJ made a great play to come over and wall up, but they were able to finish. Proud of our guys’ fight. I thought we really competed at a much higher level than we did on Saturday and gave ourselves a chance. The 19 turnovers, and in the second half, Georgia was 12-for-15 from two-point range. I thought that was really the difference.”
Of the inbounds play on LSU’s second attempt to inbound the ball after being forced to call a timeout, Coach McMahon said: “We hesitated there on our cut, we had him over the top and then it would have been a two-on-one with KJ and Adam (Miller) there on the backside with time to finish. Unfortunately, Georgia made a good play and found a way to win the game.”
KJ Williams led LSU with 18 points and nine rebounds as the only LSU player in double figures. Jalen Reed had nine points and six rebounds in the contest. Georgia was led by Braelen Bridges with 13 points, as Jabri Abdur-Rahim had 11 and Justin Hill 10.
LSU struggled with turnovers with 19 on the game to 13 for the Bulldogs.
Georgia shot 44.0 percent for the game (22-50) with six treys and 15-of-26 at the free throw line. LSU was 20-of-52 (38.5%) with seven treys and 16-of-19 at the free throw line.
In a game that featured 10 ties and five lead changes and big leads of eight points for LSU in the first half and eight points for Georgia in the second half, with 8:59 to play, both teams had made 15 field goals, five three-pointers and 11 free throws.
LSU was looking for a better start but after losing the jump ball and an LSU turnover, the Tigers were quickly down 4-0. But this time LSU came back and took the lead at 14-12 on a Cam Hayes three pointer. Derek Fountain and KJ Williams twice scored to give LSU a 20-12 advantage with 8:32 to go in the first half.
But Georgia was able to get on a bit of a run and the LSU lead was just two, 28-26, at the break.
LSU sustained the lead until UGA tied the game at 35 and then took a 39-35 lead. Georgia would eventually take apparent control of the game with 6:24 left on a bucket off an LSU turnover to go up 57-49 with 6:24 to go.
LSU remained down six, 62-56, with 3:43 to play but a three-pointer from Adam Miller and a Jalen Reed bucket made it 62-61 with 2:16 left.
Georgia missed three free throws, LSU had a turnover and a blocked shot, setting the stage for the finish.
LSU is back at home on Saturday at noon in the Maravich Center against South Carolina. Tickets are available at LSUTix.net.