Georgia clinches 3rd in SEC, beats LSU 69-61


Mar 8, 2014; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers forward Shavon Coleman (5) rebounds over Georgia Bulldogs forward Marcus Thornton (2) during the first half of a game at Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Georgia Bulldogs played their final regular season game of the year against the LSU Tigers this Saturday in Baton Rouge. While we all know that the Dawgs have been virtually eliminated from the bubble discussion in the NCAA tournament, there was still a lot on the line in this matchup.

Tennessee absolutely crushed Missouri earlier in the day, giving them a tie in the win column for 3rd place with the Dawgs. The Volunteers also held the head-t0-head tiebreaker, meaning that the Dawgs would have to beat the Tigers in order to hold on to 3rd place in the SEC Tournament. That could be huge since the Dawgs would only be forced to play the Gators in the finals, instead of in an earlier round. That is if they make it that far.

Georgia hasn’t been known for starting hot this season, but the best you can usually hope for is a solid start that keeps the game close. They did that against LSU in the first half. Both teams really battled through significant scoring droughts in the first period. The Dawgs had a stretch of six and a half minutes where they didn’t score a point, and they turned the ball over 6 times. If that kind of play shows up in the SEC tournament, I can guarantee you UGA is going to find itself exiting early. It’s painful at times to watch this team give the ball away and play sloppy in the first half of games. However, LSU decided to play copycat as they went 8 minutes with just a single FG near the end of the half. After watching both teams flounder, the Dawgs had the lead at the break, 30-28.

The Bulldogs have been a second half team all year, so if they have a lead going into the locker room I always feel good about their chances. The Dawgs didn’t disappoint in the second half and came out hot. Within 5 minutes, UGA put 13 points on the board and had LSU reeling. The Tigers were forced to call a time out to stop the bleeding, but the damage was already done. Georgia had an 8-point lead that they milked for the rest of the game. The big difference for the Dawgs in this game was their 3-point shooting. Georgia shot 9-15 beyond the arc for 60%, and 48% from the floor.

The player of the game was a tie between Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann, who absolutely went off for a combined 42 points. Mann was just 1 rebound away from a double-double, which is absurd. I want to bottle what the Dawgs have in the second half, and spill it out over the entire SEC tournament. Let’s hope they can stay hot for a run to the finals as the 3rd seed.