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LSU Basketball Opens SEC Tournament Play On Wednesday Versus UGA

LSU Basketball Opens SEC Tournament Play On Wednesday Versus UGA

BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s basketball team travels to Nashville for the 2023 Southeastern Conference Tournament which begins Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena.

LSU will face Georgia in the second game of the opening night of the tournament with tip set for around 8:20 p.m. CT or 25 minutes after the conclusion of the 6 p.m. contest between Ole Miss and South Carolina. The game will be broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (Guaranty Media flagship Eagle 98.1 FM in BR) with the Voice of the Tigers Chris Blair and former LSU coach John Brady. Tom Hart, Dane Bradshaw and Alyssa Lang will have the call on the SEC Network telecast.

LSU will be looking to find a way to sustain some of the solid first-half and early second half basketball they have played in the last couple of weeks, most notably against Missouri (3/1) and at Florida (3/4).

“When you evaluate it, there’s 20-25 minutes of solid-to-good basketball that we’ve been able to play here of late,” said LSU’s first-year head coach Matt McMahon. “Unfortunately, we’ve just been unable to sustain that over an entire 40-minute game. I think the best approach for us, we all know the turnover issues and things that are shortcomings for us., so we’re 0-0, just work hard these next two days. Hopefully we go into the tournament and play with confidence, loose is a word, I always want us to play that way, loose and confident.

“It’s disappointing because you play so well there in stretches, but you ask ‘how do you lose two double digits leads in games last week?’ Well, we got outscored 33-6 in points off turnovers in both games, which really is difficult to overcome. Our first opponent, Georgia, that was the difference in the game last time. So, ball security will continue to be a point of emphasis if we want to have a chance to win on Wednesday.”

On Feb. 14, it was Justin Hill’s layup with 4.2 seconds remaining that lifted Georgia to a 65-63 victory over LSU. That layup on a difficult shot came moments after LSU’s KJ Williams hit a turnaround jumper in the lane with 11 seconds remaining to give LSU a 63-62 lead.

The teams have met nine times in the SEC Tournament with LSU holding a 6-3 advantage. It will be the first time the teams have met in the tournament since 2014.

“I thought at times the offensive execution was very good in that game (against Georgia),” said Coach McMahon. “The defensive effort was good enough, but the 19 turnovers, just way too much to overcome. Especially against a team that forces around 10 turnovers per game, we have to do a better job of taking care of the ball there. They (Georgia) put an unbelievable amount of pressure on you off the dribble and getting to the free throw line. They just live at the free throw line. Our ability to keep them off the line, protect our paint. We have to do a better job protecting our paint against them. (Braelen) Bridges can really score it down there with his back to the basket. I think those are some of the areas of emphasis there.”

Bridges had 13 points to lead Georgia to victory while LSU was led by KJ Williams with 18 points and nine boards. Georgia shot 60 percent in the second half, making 14-of-23 shots while LSU shot 38 percent for the game (20-52).

The winner of Wednesday’s game would advance to face No. 6 seed Vanderbilt at the same time on Thursday night.