March 14, 2013
NASHVILLE -- Georgia sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored a career-high 32 points and picked up his seventh career double-double, but Georgia's second half comeback came up just short as the Bulldogs fell to LSU 68-63 in the second round of the SEC Tournament Thursday afternoon at the Bridgestone Arena.
Freshman Charles Mann also contributed 15 points, including 12-of-14 from the free-throw line.
"Certainly, a hard fought game," said head coach Mark Fox. "I have to congratulate LSU. They came with a much more aggressive mentality to start the game and really had us on our heels and we really fought back courageously, but we just can't wait that late in the game to start playing like that, and you've got to give their team credit and wish them well."
After trailing by as many as 23 points, Georgia (15-17) roared back and had the ball trailing 66-63 with 12 seconds left, but Caldwell-Pope couldn't connect from distance to tie the game. After the miss, LSU's (19-11) Andre Stringer made two free throws to secure the win.
"I didn't shoot it straight up and down," said Caldwell-Pope of his final shot attempt. "I was leaning a little bit on the shot. It was well contested and I [didn't] create any space [to get an open shot]."
Caldwell-Pope, the SEC Player of the Year, scored 17 points in the second half's first ten minutes. He cut the LSU lead to 54-44 midway through the half on a third chance three-pointer from the wing.
At the five-minute mark, Georgia began to put together a 10-0 run to pull within two, 63-61. Two possessions later, Caldwell-Pope's game tying attempt hit iron, ending Georgia's valiant second-half effort.
LSU controlled the first half taking a 39-19 lead into the halftime break. In the first half, the Tigers shot 5-of-12 from behind the three-point arc, forced nine first-half Georgia turnovers, and shot nearly 50 percent from the field.
The Tigers were led by Shavon Coleman and Stringer who scored 24 and 16 points, respectively.
LSU advances to play Florida in the SEC tournament quarterfinals Friday at 1:00 p.m.