Last-second free throws give LSU basketball a one-point win over Georgia

Jordan Wright led LSU basketball in scoring with 17 points in LSU's 67-66 win over Georgia. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics
Matt McMahon discusses LSU’s win over Georgia.

LSU basketball got revenge on Georgia in a 67-66 win that came down to the final shot of the game.

LSU (15-13, 7-8 SEC) lost the first matchup with Georgia (15-13, 5-10 SEC) over a month ago after a Russel Tchewa and-1 with only two seconds sunk the Tigers, but this time LSU managed to get a stop on the final possession to hold on for the win.  

LSU had to comeback in the final few minutes to take a late lead in the first matchup, but this time around the Tigers jumped out to an early lead that it held on to for most of the game. The Tigers led by as many as 15 points in the first half before a second half rally by Georgia gave the Bulldogs the lead late.

LSU managed to pull away in the end thanks to a pair of Will Baker free throws to squeak out a one-point win.

“Just so proud of our players,” head coach Matt McMahon said. “Obviously the game wasn’t a thing of beauty, but at the end of the day the goal is to win by any means necessary.”

LSU got out to a hot start shooting the ball early in the first half. The Tigers built a 16-10 lead with 15:48 left in the half thanks to three three-pointers on four attempts. LSU started the game shooting 6-for-7 from the field.

Six different Tigers made threes in the first half. Mwani Wilkinson made two first half threes and led the Tigers in scoring at the break with seven points.

LSU shot 58.3% from the field in the first half and shot 7-for-10 from three to have a 13-point lead at halftime. Georgia shot just 30.3% from the field in the first half and went 2-for-16 from three. Both teams were a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line. LSU also outrebounded the Bulldogs 18-13 in the first half.

Despite the halftime lead, LSU struggled with turnovers in the first half. The Tigers had 11 turnovers at the break.

“First half, I loved our offensive execution,” McMahon said. “Sharing of the basketball, elite shooting minus the turnovers. The turnovers really prevented us from building a larger lead there in the first half.”

Georgia’s shots started to fall in the second half and the bulldogs began to whittle away at the 13-point halftime deficit. A pair of free throws from Jabri Abdur-Rahim cut the lead down to just four points with 9:37 left in the game.

A three from Noah Thomasson with 5:38 left in the game gave Georgia the lead 58-57. It was the first lead of the game for Georgia since it led 5-3 with 18:43 left in the first half.

LSU reclaimed the lead thanks to a Jordan Wright and-1, but Georgia went right down the court and reclaimed its one-point lead. A free throw from Cain extended that lead to two points before two free throws from Wright tied the game back up at 61.

Justin Hill’s third three of the game gave the lead back to Georgia with 2:41 remaining. After a pair of free throws from Wright, a steal from Wright and a Tyrell Ward layup gave LSU the lead 65-64.

Georgia called a timeout with 38 seconds left in the game and needing a score. A layup from Hill gave Georgia a one-point lead with 29 seconds remaining. Will Baker was fouled on the next possession and knocked down both of his free throws to return the lead to LSU.

The Tigers played lock down defense on the final shot of the game and LSU managed to hold on for a narrow win.

“I’m looking forward to watching the last possession because I know our guys were exhausted, gassed but I thought we were flying around,” McMahon said.

Wright led the Tigers in scoring with 17 points. Baker pitched in 12 points and Trae Hannibal led the team in rebounds with six. Jalen Cook missed his fourth consecutive game with a hamstring injury.

Thomasson led the Bulldogs in scoring with 16 points and Silas Demary Jr. led with seven rebounds.

LSU shot 46.8% from the field and went 9-for-18 from three. Georgia shot just 37.3% from the field and went 7-for-27 from three-point range LSU out rebounded Georgia 25-22 and finished the game with 16 turnovers.

“We were not very good offensively in the second half,” McMahon said. “When [Georgia] took the lead they clearly had a lot of momentum and I think it says a lot about our players, the toughness the grit, to find a way to make enough plays in the last minute to get the win.”

LSU’s next game will be on the road against Vanderbilt on Saturday. That game will start at 2:30 p.m.

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