By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
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NASHVILLE – Shavon Coleman scored a team-high 24 points, Andre Stringer added 16 and ninth-seeded LSU escaped Bridgestone Arena Thursday with a 68-63 win against eight-seeded Georgia in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
LSU (19-11) advances to the SEC Tournament quarterfinals to face top-seeded Florida (24-6) at 1 p.m. ET Friday in a game that will be carried live on ESPNU.
LSU, which led by as many as 23 points late in the first half, watched its lead dwindle down to two (63-61) with 1:06 remaining.
Coleman’s 24 points were one shy of his career high of 25 set earlier this season against McNeese State. He made 9-of-11 shots from the field and connected on four three-pointers. Stringer’s 16 points marked his third consecutive double-figure scoring game, while Johnny O’Bryant turned in his league-leading 15th double-double of the year with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Tigers shot 43.4 percent (23-of-53) from the field in the game, while limiting Georgia to just 28.6 percent (16-of-56) shooting from the floor. LSU, which shot 47.1 percent in the opening half, made nine three-pointers in the game for the 12th time this season.
Georgia (15-17) was led by a career-high 32 points and 13 rebounds from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
All-Time Series: LSU leads 62-42
In SEC Tournament Games: LSU leads 6-3
Earlier this Season: on Jan. 19, Georgia won 67-58 in Athens
• LSU came out hotter than jalapeno jambalaya. After falling behind 2-0, the Tigers scored on six straight possessions – including three three-pointers – for a 15-6 lead.
• Ahead 25-15, LSU scorched a 12-0 run to go up 37-15.
• LSU led by as many as 23 points at 39-16 and took a 39-19 advantage into halftime.
• LSU was leading by 21 points (49-28) early in the second half when the Bulldogs rallied.
• UGA cut the lead to two points at 63-61 when Andre Stringer came up big for the Bayou Bengals.
o With 35 seconds left, Stringer swished a three-pointer to make it 66-61.
o Georgia pulled within 66-63 and got the ball with a chance to tie. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed a three-pointer and Stringer – the smallest man on the court -- claimed the rebound.
o With 6.3 seconds remaining, Stringer made string music with two foul shots to clinch the win.
• LSU is 19-11. After starting 0-4 in SEC play, the Tigers have won 10 of their last 15 games.
• LSU won points in the paint, 24-12, and points off turnovers, 13-3.
• Shavon Coleman led LSU with 24 points, one shy of his career high of 25 set against McNeese State on Nov. 13.
• Andre Stringer notched 16 points, including the Tigers’ final five in the last minute.
• Johnny O’Bryant III totaled 12 points and 12 rebounds, his league-leading 15th double-double of the season.
• Georgia is 15-17.
• Georgia dominated the rebounding, 48-34, leading to an 18-11 edge in second-chance points.
• Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the SEC Player of the Year, led all players with a career-high 32 points plus 13 rebounds.
o It is his seventh double-double of the season.
• Freshman Charles Mann scored 15 points, three shy of his career best, and tied his personal best with 12 foul shots.