ATHENS — Georgia basketball had the breakout game it had been waiting for, dominating what had been a red-hot LSU team on Tuesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.
Sahvir Wheeler recorded the program’s first-ever double-double, leading the Bulldogs (14-9, 7-9 SEC) over the Tigers (14-7, 9-5) by a 91-78 count.
Wheeler had 14 points along with posting career-highs with 11 rebounds and 13 assists as Georgia built a 45-29 halftime advantage and didn’t let LSU get closer than 12 the remainder of the game.
“We knew at some point there would be a great breakthrough,” Wheeler said. “We’ve played a lot of great halves … we finally put together two good halves of basketball.”
Toumani Camara recorded a double-double with a career-high 22 points and 10 rebounds. It was Camara’s seventh double-double of the season, the most in the SEC.
Tye Fagan had a strong performance with 18 points and 7 rebounds. KD Johnson, who had not yet been cleared to play when the teams met the first time — a 94-92 LSU OT win on Jan. 6 — scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half as the Bulldogs refused to let the Tigers make a comeback.
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The Bulldogs pulled away by closing the final 5:21 of the first half on a 21-5 run, forcing 8 LSU turnovers while committing just 4 themselves through the first 20 minutes.
Wheeler took his place in the Georgia record books with 10:45 remaining in the game when he threw up an alley-oop pass that KD Johnson laid in, giving the Bulldogs a 69-49 lead at that time.
Coach Tom Crean had no idea Wheeler had recorded the triple-double until after the game. It was only the 29th triple-double in SEC history.
“That’s phenomenal, and it’s incredible when you think of how many years they played basketball, 116 years, and it had never happened before,” Crean said. “We got a lot of high-level energy from these guys.
“I said to them today, the team that establishes the toughness is the team that will get their running game going the best. It was a very efficient game for us.”
It was the third time this season UGA scored more than 90 points and the team’s largest margin of victory in an SEC game.
Wheeler, a sophomore from Houston, was coming off a career-high 27-point effort against Florida.
But against a bigger, longer LSU team, Wheeler said he knew coming in that he would be looking to get more rebounds.
“I felt this was a game I could help out and crash the boards,” said Wheeler, who had 8 of his rebounds in the first half. “The assists are a credit to my teammates. Those are the guys that finish and make me look good.”
The Tigers entered the game on a three-game winning streak, smashing Auburn 104-80 in their previous contest.
The Bulldogs return to action at 1 p.m. Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum against South Carolina.