Bulldogs fall to Tigers, 72-67, in SEC Tournament
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Georgia men’s basketball team closed out its season with a 72-67 loss to LSU in the first round of the 2023 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament on Wednesday evening before 14,326 spectators at Bridgestone Arena.
Braelen Bridges and Justin Hill led Georgia (16-16, 6-12 SEC) in scoring with 13 points each. Terry Roberts added 12 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Kario Oquendo and Jabri Abdur-Rahim each pitched in with 10 points. For the evening, the Bulldogs shot 40 percent from the field.
“I thought both teams played really hard,” said head coach Mike White. “We played incredibly hard in the last 17 minutes or so of the game. We left a lot of energy, enthusiasm and positive attitude out there on the floor. Unfortunately, their 18 offensive rebounds and 25 second chance points hurt us. … I loved our fight today. This team fought adversity all season. This was a tough way to go out, but I feel like we’ve laid a foundation.”
The teams began by trading baskets over the opening minutes, with the Bulldogs trailing LSU (14-18, 2-16 SEC) by a point at the first media timeout. Oquendo managed to end a six-minute field goal drought, putting in an open 3-pointer off the assist from Hill. The Georgia offense started finding its rhythm toward the end of the half, scoring 14 of its points in the final 4:47 but found itself trailing at the break, 42-30. LSU turned the ball over just once compared to eight from the Bulldogs.
Georgia came out of the locker room again trading buckets with LSU, eventually starting to chip away at the Tigers’ lead and cut the deficit to eight points five minutes into the half. A block from Jusuan Holt would turn into a fastbreak for the Bulldogs, with Abdur-Rahim connecting on a 3-pointer and putting the score at 48-43. Bridges would get an offensive rebound and convert on a second chance opportunity with 11:27 to go, putting Georgia down three.
After falling behind by five, Roberts got a steal out in transition, which he used to put down a monstrous dunk. A pair of made free throws from Bridges made it a one-point game, 55-54, with 5:43 remaining. Abdur-Rahim tied the game with a 3-pointer and gave the Bulldogs its first lead since early in the first half with a pair of free throws. The Tigers stretched their lead back out to four, but Roberts responded by banking in a 3-point shot from the right-side wing. Hill then tied the score at 67-all with 1:33 remaining, but LSU would make two baskets to go up four with 22 seconds remaining, which ultimately secured it the win.
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