Georgia (12-14) at L-S-U (16-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 22nd, 8:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pete Maravich Assembly Center (13,215) -- Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Television: SEC Network. Home Record: Georgia 9-6, LSU 10-3. Away Record: Georgia 2-7, LSU 4-6. Neutral Record: Georgia 1-1, LSU 2-1. Conference Record: Georgia 3-9, LSU 6-6. Series Record: LSU leads, 60-41.
GAME NOTES: The LSU Tigers look to extend their winning streak to four games Wednesday when the Georgia Bulldogs travel to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for a Southeastern Conference tilt.
LSU continued its late-season surge in the standings Saturday with a 68-58 win at South Carolina. The Tigers led comfortably for much of the game but needed to take it up a notch after the Gamecocks pulled to within four points late in the second half. Justin Hamilton answered with a bucket and Ralston Turner buried a three to give the Tigers all the breathing room they would need. Overall, LSU shot 49.0 percent from the field and outrebounded USC 35-23. The Tigers were especially successful with their inside game as Hamilton led all scorers with 18 points and Storm Warren scored 12 to pair with eight rebounds. Anthony Hickey added 10 points and handed out seven assists as LSU picked up its fourth win in five games to even its record at 6-6 in the SEC.
Georgia fell to Vanderbilt 61-52 at home Sunday for its second straight defeat. The Bulldogs emerged from the first half with a slim 29-28 edge but faltered over the final 20 minutes while Vandy turned up the heat. The Commodores shot 57.9 percent from the floor in the second half while the Bulldogs were held to a paltry 29.4-percent clip. John Jenkins, the SEC's leading scorer, netted 28 points for the visitors while Georgia got 19 points from senior Gerald Robinson. The Bulldogs slipped to 3-9 in the SEC with the loss.
LSU leads the all-time set with Georgia by a 60-41 count with a 32-13 advantage in games staged in Baton Rouge. The Tigers have won nine of the previous 14 meetings with the Bulldogs, but UGA posted a 73-53 victory in last year's encounter in Athens.
The Bulldogs' continued struggles on offense have them dangerously close to finding the basement of the SEC. Robinson and freshman Kentavious Caldwell- Pope are in charge of an inconsistent and unbalanced offensive attack, registering 14.1 and 13.9 points per game, respectively. Caldwell-Pope is also a big part of the Bulldogs' rebounding game, hauling in 5.2 boards per contest. Dustin Ware and Donte Williams do their best to back up the aforementioned duo, kicking in 8.1 and 7.5 ppg, respectively. Williams is also the club's leading rebounder at 5.5 per game, but overall Georgia typically suffers on the glass with a minus-1.1 margin and an underwhelming 33.6 boards on average. Unfortunately for the Bulldog faithful, it's not nearly the team's greatest area of concern as UGA owns the conference's worst scoring offense (61.3 ppg), second-worst scoring margin (minus-1.6) and a league-low 39.2 field-goal percentage. The defense is the only thing keeping the Bulldogs competitive on a nightly basis, holding teams to 62.8 ppg and 42.1 percent shooting.
The Tigers have a good makeup in striking an effective balance between offense and defense. LSU puts up 66.5 ppg but on only 41.1 percent shooting while opponents average 63.2 ppg on an identical shooting percentage. The junior Hamilton leads the team in both scoring at 13.9 ppg and rebounding with 7.2 per contest. Andre Stringer slots in next at 10.1 ppg and while Hickey provides 9.6 ppg and a team-leading 3.9 assists. Turner chips in with his 9.1- point average and paces the club in three-pointers with 39 on 37.1 percent shooting. Hickey is a close second with 36 triples on 31.9 percent accuracy. The Tigers manage a decent edge on the boards at 37.3-36.5 with freshman Johnny O'Bryant III kicking in 6.5 rpg and the senior Warren 5.1 rpg to that end. Both Warren and O'Bryant add further depth with 8.2 and 8.1-point averages, respectively.
LSU will need to keep up its intensity as Georgia is no pushover. If the Tigers continue to spread the ball around and play smart defense, they should be able to get by the Bulldogs and take another step forward in the volatile SEC.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: LSU 67, Georgia 61
02/22 10:36:35 ET