It's becoming a bit of a broken record. Poor shooting (especially from the three-point line) and turnovers cost the Tigers the chance to win their first SEC game. And yet again, it was against a beatable opponent.
LSU is 0-4 in the SEC and are now the only team without a conference win. Furthermore, two of their losses have come against teams that have failed to beat another SEC opponent (Georgia and South Carolina).
On Saturday night, LSU trailed for much of the game, although they kept it close until the end. While the Tigers were down 33-29 at the half, Georgia never led by more than 5 points. In the second half, the Bulldogs stretched their lead to 41-33, but LSU began a comeback and briefly took the lead at the 12 minute mark on an Anthony Hickey three-pointer. The teams tussled for the next 8 minutes, with neither team leading by more than 4 points, until Georgia finally pulled away in the final 3 minutes, due to the play of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who scored 22 points and added 6 steals, and clutch free throw shooting down the stretch. After making just 11 of their first 18 free throws, the Dawgs converted all 8 of their final attempts.
While LSU was forced to foul on every defensive possession at the end of the game, they failed to score much in the final 4 minutes. In that time period, the Tigers had 4 turnovers and made just 1 of 6 field goals. It was another poor ending to a close conference game.
For the game, the Tigers shot only 36 percent from the field on 18-50 shooting. Even worse, LSU had 21 turnovers but only managed a paltry 6 assists.
Looking for positives, Johnny O'Bryant III broke out of his slump in conference play. JOB III scored 16 points on 6-8 shooting and landed 14 rebounds. Anthony Hickey contributed 6 rebounds and 5 steals, but he was very inefficient on offense, where he scored only 12 points on 15 shots.
One surprising bright spot for LSU was the play of freshman Malik Morgan, who scored a career high 11 points, while starting in place of Charles Carmouche. Carmouche missed the game due to tendonitis.
There was also a scary moment for the Tigers in the final minute when Corban Collins dove for a loose ball on offense. Caldwell-Pope accidentally collided into Collins, who was visibly injured after the play. Team trainers covered his face in towels (presumably to hide the bleeding from his nose). Collins also appeared so disoriented that three of his teammates had to help carry him off the court.
LSU will try to reverse their 4-game losing streak against Texas A&M on Wednesday, January 23 at the PMAC.