LSU Basketball Takes Giant Step Back in 91-78 Loss at Georgia

Georgia outplays Tigers on both ends of the floor in meaningful tournament showing for purple and gold
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It seems that a common theme with this LSU team is the Tigers will take a few steps forward and then a giant step back. After a three game win streak that looked like it had the program on the straight and narrow leading into the final games of the season, LSU came out flat and paid the price in a 91-78 blowout loss at Georgia. 

LSU came into Tuesday's game averaging 92 points over its previous three outings, LSU arrived in Athens and the offense was nowhere to be found. The Tigers came out slow and just couldn't buy a bucket in the first half on pretty good looks. 

"It was an embarrassing performance, we got whipped every way we could get whipped," Will Wade said. "All of our poor habits came out and they were more physical, they beat us to loose ball, they played with a better spirit than we did. Just an all systems breakdown and as disappointing a night as we've had."

LSU shot just 33% from the field in the first half and 40% for the game as Georgia had a pretty solid defensive gameplan, double teaming LSU guards on the dribble and getting the offense out of whack. The first half got away late from LSU as Georgia would close on a 22-6 run to take complete control of the game leading into the break.

LSU's slow start on offense started to affect its defensive effort as well. Defenders were allowing Georgia players easy backdoor cuts, the rotations were poor and there was very little intensity shown at the rim as the game started to get out of hand. 

It was a particularly poor showing considering the strides the team had seemingly made in its previous three games on both ends of the floor. After scoring a season high 104 points over the weekend, the LSU offense never left the PMAC. With 11 turnovers and allowing 16 offensive rebounds told the story as Georgia scored a combined 26 points off LSU mistakes and through second chance opportunities. 

"Beginning of the first half we came out slow," Javonte Smart said. "In this game, we just didn't come out to fight. They got that edge on us and we couldn't get stops while when our offense wasn't going."

The team just seemed to be going through the motions and there was a lack of urgency that the Tigers couldn't afford to extend into the second half trailing 45-29 at the break. The offense picked up a bit in the second half but the defensive struggles remained unattended as Georgia continued to get to the rim with ease all night. 

While Georgia went just 9-for-31 on its triples, its 23-for-38 showing inside the arc told a story of not much resistence at the rim. Guard Sahvir Wheeler dominated the game, posting a triple double with 14 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, becoming the first Georgia player in program history to record a triple double. 

For LSU, Javonte Smart scored 19 points on an efficient 45% from the field while Cam Thomas poured in 21 points and Trendon Watford added 11 points.

The Tigers will have to regroup quickly before heading to Fayetteville on Saturday to take on a red hot, top 25 Arkansas squad. 

Story will be updated with quotes