NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)KJ Williams scored 18 points, Trae Hannibal and Shawn Phillips both had double-doubles, and 14th-seeded LSU defeated No. 11 seed Georgia 72-67 on Wednesday night in the opening round of the SEC Tournament.
LSU, which blew double-digit leads in the second half of recent losses to Missouri and Florida, held on to a 12-point halftime lead until Georgia tied it at 57-all on a 3-pointer by Jabri Abdur-Rahim with under five minutes remaining.
Georgia led 61-59 after two free throws by Justin Hill. LSU got a big boost from a four-point play by Adam Miller but Georgia tied the score at 67 when Hill finished off a three-point play with 1:33 remaining. The Bulldogs did not score again.
A putback by Shawn Phillips Jr. gave LSU a 69-67 lead and a short jumper by Williams put the Tigers up by four with 22 seconds to go. Braelen Bridges missed a jumper for Georgia, then Hannibal added a free throw for LSU to cap the scoring.
LSU will play sixth-seeded Vanderbilt on Thursday.
Williams had eight rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Tigers (14-18). He was 8 for 8 on free throws and the Tigers made 20 of 26 as a team. Hannibal had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Phillips added 13 points with 10 rebounds. Miller finished with 10 points.
Georgia (16-16) had five players in double figures led by the 13 points of Bridges and Hill. Terry Roberts added 12 points, Kario Oquendo 10, and Abdur-Rahim 10.
In the first half, the Tigers turned five early Georgia turnovers into seven points and built a 22-14 lead shortly after the under-8 media timeout. After the timeout, the Tigers scored six of the next eight points, pushing their lead to 27-16. By half’s end, LSU had a 16-2 advantage in second-chance points, only one turnover, and a 42-30 lead.
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