Tremont Waters scored 25 points, and Skylar Mays added 20 and became the 33rd player in school history to reach the 200 assist mark for a career, but Georgia dominated LSU inside and knocked off the Tigers 93-82, putting the already-slim NCAA Tournament hopes of Will Wade’s first squad on life support.
The Bulldogs capitalized on a 16-0 run to close the first half and start the second to take the win. Yante Maten paced the victors with 25 points and 11 rebounds. The hosts outrebounded LSU (16-12, 7-9 SEC), and their starting bigs, Maten and Derek Ogbeide, outscored LSU’s 37-4 and outrebounded them 21-7.
Georgia took an 11-point lead into the locker room thanks to dominance on the glass and in the paint. The Bulldogs outboarded the Tigers 25-13 in the first 20 minutes, particularly pounding the glass on their own misses. Derek Ogbeide grabbed four of Georgia’s 12 first-half offensive rebounds, compared to just 10 defensive rebounds for the Tigers. His putback at the buzzer gave Georgia a 45-34 lead.
LSU could’ve been closer, thanks to hot shooting from deep. Tremont Waters knocked down three of the Tigers’ six 3-pointers, including a deep effort that tied the game at 28 with 5:30 left in the half. But Georgia closed the half on a 17-6 run, while LSU’s best big, Duop Reath, watched from the bench, sidelined with a pair of fouls and held to just 1 point and 3 rebounds in 8 first-half minutes. Georgia’s top dog, meanwhile, did work, as SEC Player of the Year candidate Yante Maten scored 11 points, with 5 rebounds and 5 blocks to boot.
The 11-point halftime lead would grow to as large as 22 on Juwan Parker’s three-pointer just 2:30 into the second half. The Dogs scored the first 11 points of the second half before Waters hit Wayde Sims for a layup. Georgia hit its first six attempts from the field to start the half.
The Tigers didn’t fade without a fight. Waters got the deficit under 20 with a pair of free throws and trimmed it to 16 on a lay-in with just over 13 minutes remaining. Sampson’s lay-up two minutes later pulled LSU within 65-51. Georgia stretched the lead back to 20 on a three-point play by Rayshaun Hammonds with five minutes to go, but Skylar Mays and Waters pulled the Tigers back to 13 on three freebies with under three minutes. After a Daryl Edwards finish at the rim, Waters buried two free throws to put LSU slightly closer with 2:08 to go, 87-75. LSU would get within nine late, but no closer.