ATHENS – It was almost Georgia’s worst loss of the season. It ended up being yet another defining moment for its diminutive star guard.
LSU, which entered with just one win in SEC play, had rallied from 16 points down to take the lead by one. It had the ball when a missed shot led to a frantic set of tips at the basket .The ball finally went out of bounds with 6.7 seconds left, ball to Georgia, which had one final chance.
The inbounds went to J.J. Frazier, as everyone expected. He darted downcourt and attacked the basket. As he tried a reverse layup, a foul was called with 1.6 seconds left.
He made the first to tie it.
He made the second, and Georgia led again, 82-80, bringing a roar from the crowd. A timeout was called.
LSU tried to heave it downcourt, but the pass was off and Georgia’s Derek Ogbeide picked it off and was hacked. After a review, he made the first free throw, then missed the second, and LSU’s prayer heave missed.
Georgia (17-12 overall, 8-8 in the SEC) had barely escaped a loss to LSU (now 9-19, 1-15).
– Player of the game: Frazier again did all he could in the absence of Yante Maten, Georgia’s leading scorer who is out with a sprained knee. The senior guard had a game-high 29 points, and kept answering LSU baskets with big ones of his own in the second half.
– Stat line of the game: LSU out-rebounded Georgia 33-29, including 19-13 in the second half.
– Turning point: Georgia’s lead had been dwindling for awhile when, with 6:21 left, Frazier picked up his fourth foul on an LSU three-point try. The ensuing free throws tied it. When Georgia went back up by six briefly, but the offense and rebounding stalled. A put-back by LSU’s Wayde Sims gave the Tigers their first lead since early in the first half. On the other end, a Frazier drive was blocked, and the Tigers scored to make it a three-point game. Then Frazier fed Derek Ogbeide for a layup, settting up the frantic final 45 seconds.
– What’s next: Georgia’s final home game of the regular season, as Auburn visits Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Georgia won at Auburn in late December.