Georgia beats LSU 91-78
ATHENS, Ga. — Marcus Thornton believed it was Georgia’s time to win, even though Louisiana State came to Athens on a roll.
Thornton’s double-double helped prove the point.
Nemanja Djurisic scored 17 points, Thornton had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Georgia never trailed while snapping a three-game losing streak with its 91-78 win over LSU on Thursday night.
“I felt like we were due, based off of last week,” Thornton said, referring to the Bulldogs’ consecutive losses to Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Auburn.
Charles Mann had 16 points for Georgia (11-10, 5-4 Southeastern Conference).
Georgia coach Mark Fox called the game “a heck of a win for our young people.”
“As we build our team and our program, you have to have belief in yourself and you have to have belief through adversity,” Fox said. “We had a tough 10 days where we didn’t play very well, and we stuck it out and hung together and kept getting better.”
LSU’s Johnny O’Bryant III, who was averaging 21.6 points over his last five games, was held to nine points, all but three coming in the final 6 minutes. O’Bryant fouled out with 58.3 seconds remaining.
Andre Stringer and Jordan Mickey each had 19 points for LSU (14-7, 5-4 SEC). Jarell Martin had 15.
LSU had won two straight, including an 87-82 win over No. 11 Kentucky, and four of five. O’Bryant had 29 points against Kentucky but was scoreless in the first half against Georgia and then was limited by foul trouble in the second half.
“He’s a great player,” said Fox of O’Bryant (6-9, 256), who was averaging 15.8 points and 7.5 rebounds.
“I don’t know if there’s a better low-block player in the league. Obviously, his foul trouble was a key for us.”
O’Bryant was held under 10 points for only the second time in his last 13 games.
Georgia, which averaged 58 points in its three straight losses, topped 90 points for only the second time this season by making a season-high 60 percent of its shots (27 of 45) from the field.
O’Bryant has 10 games with 20 or more points this season, including wins over No. 11 Kentucky and Arkansas in the Tigers’ last two games.
LSU fell to 2-4 on the road, including 1-3 in SEC games away from Baton Rouge. The Tigers were outscored 24-4 in the paint while trailing 43-30 at halftime.
“In the first half, we didn’t establish ourselves and we let them gain confidence,” said LSU coach Johnny Jones.
“They average about 60 points a game, and we let them score 91 tonight. We are not tough enough. We weren’t tough enough tonight. The bottom line is we just aren’t there yet.”
While LSU relied on 3-pointers for 12 of its first 18 points, Georgia pulled away to an early lead by working inside.
A tip by Donte Williams stretched the lead to double figures for the first time at 32-22. Georgia led 43-30 at halftime. It was the most first-half points allowed by LSU since trailing Massachusetts 49-45 in the Tigers’ season-opening 92-90 loss.
O’Bryant, who missed each of his three shots in the first half, finally scored on a three-point play early in the second half. O’Bryant didn’t score again before he was called for his fourth foul less than 6 minutes into the half, sending the junior to the bench.
Another LSU forward, Shavon Coleman, was called for his fourth foul early in the second half and fouled out with 2:15 remaining.
Mickey scored six of LSU’s first nine points in the second half. A 3-pointer by Martin cut Georgia’s lead to 48-45. It was as close as LSU would come to catching Georgia.
“We showed some poise,” Fox said. “We knew they would make a run, and we responded. That’s a sign of maturity.”
Georgia answered, pushing its lead back to 10 points at 61-51 on a driving layup by Thornton.