NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Shavon Coleman scored 24 points, and the LSU Tigers held off Georgia 68-63 Thursday to give first-year coach Johnny Jones a win in his Southeastern Conference tournament debut.
LSU, which started league play by losing its first four games, now has won three of four. The Tigers (19-11) will play No. 13 Florida in the quarterfinals Friday.
Georgia (15-17) has lost two straight. The Bulldogs trailed by as much as 23 before whittling away LSU's lead. They used a 12-3 run to pull within 66-63 with 28.5 seconds left. Andre Stringer hit two free throws to finish off the win after Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit off the rim from 25 feet away.
Caldwell-Pope had 25 of his career-high 32 points in the second half trying to bring Georgia back. He also had 13 rebounds.