The Georgia men’s basketball team defeated LSU 91-78 in dominant fashion Tuesday night at Stegeman Coliseum. Following the win over the Tigers, Georgia’s overall record improves to 14-9 (7-9 SEC). Here are some observations from The Red & Black.
Sharing the wealth
Georgia men’s basketball finds success as a sum of its parts and falters when having to rely on one playmaker. The Bulldogs’ collective effort against LSU illustrated this idea perfectly.
Just read the individual stat lines. Sophomore Sahvir Wheeler recorded the first triple-double in Georgia men’s basketball history within 30 minutes of the contest and finished the night with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists.
“It’s a great feeling,” Wheeler said in a virtual postgame press conference. “It’s an even better feeling for it to come out of a win.”
Add in exceptional nights for Toumani Camara (22 points, 10 rebounds), K.D. Johnson (21 points, four assists) and Tye Fagan (18 points, seven rebounds), and it’s the recipe for success Georgia has been inching toward all season.
“Everybody on this team can get the night going,” Camara said in a postgame press conference. “It can be anybody, really. I think it’s a big advantage for our team, and when the ball is moving like that, I think it’s really hard to beat us.”
On top of Wheeler’s historic night, Camara’s 22 points was a career-high for him.
“It’s something I kind of wanted to do. I feel like I’m capable of [it] more often than this time,” Camara said. “It’s something that had to happen at some point, I guess. I keep working on my game every day, and today was just my day more than others.”
Coming in hot
Georgia hadn’t been seeing success in the first half, and it seemed to have enough of that narrative Tuesday night. Georgia led LSU by 16 points after a dominant first half on defense.
The Bulldogs capped off their productive half with a 21-6 run in the final six minutes, bringing the halftime score to 45-29.
“I think [first-half momentum] did a ton because of the way they did it,” said head coach Tom Crean in a virtual press conference after the game. “They did it on the defensive end. We stayed locked in. The baskets [LSU made], for the most part, they had to earn them. We were not giving them baskets.”
Georgia quieted the SEC’s top-shooting offense to 33% in the first half, a significant drop in LSU’s average of 47.5%. The Tigers totaled 29 points, making 10 of their 30 attempts from the field and going 3-for-12 from the 3-point line.
The Bulldogs had more luck shooting, finishing the first half going 42% from the field (16 of 38) and making four of their 17 attempts from behind the arc.
Camara stole the spotlight of the first half, totaling three blocks, one steal and two defensive rebounds in the first half. Camara also kept the pace on offense, contributing 14 points (6-for-9 field goals, 2-for-3 from the free throw line) in the first half alone.
Georgia also maintained control from the free throw line in the first half, making 9 of their 13 attempts compared to LSU’s 6 of 10.
Holding the lead
Georgia continued to hold it down throughout the second half, as LSU was never able to make a win appear out of the Bulldogs’ reach after halftime.
Both the Bulldogs and Tigers improved their second-half shooting, but Georgia came in with the better percentage and maintained it.
Georgia shot 51.6% from the field in the second half and finished the night shooting 46.4% (32 of 69). LSU, which improved to 45.9% in the second half, still finished the game at 40.3% (27 of 67).
“Bottom line, momentum is always up for grabs, and these guys did a really good job at grabbing momentum and not letting it go,” Crean said.
The Bulldogs also had better luck from behind the arc, sinking nine of their 31 attempts from 3-point range compared to LSU’s eight of 30. Georgia also kept its lead from the free-throw line, completing 64.3% of its free throws compared to the Tigers’ 59.3% for the game.
Now heading into its final couple of games before the SEC Tournament, Georgia has an extra boost of confidence to motivate for the finish.
“We’ve played some really good games, and we’ve played some good halves,” Wheeler said. “We finally wanted to put together two good halves of basketball, especially at home. That was the main focus.”