J.J. Frazier did it again.
This time, he was able to help get Georgia a much tougher-than-expected win over LSU at the free-throw line. Trailing by one with 6.7 seconds to go in the game, Frazier drove the length of the floor, weaving his way between defenders before going up for a layup. He was subsequently fouled with 1.6 seconds to go. Frazier calmly made both free throws to put the Bulldogs up by one point.
LSU responded with a deep inbounds pass that forward Derek Ogbeide intercepted. He was fouled and made one of two free throws. A last-second heave missed and Georgia escaped with an 82-80 win over the Tigers.
Frazier once again put in a top-notch performance. He scored 29 points on 9-of-18 shooting. He made 10 of 11 free throws and sank one of his three 3-point attempts. Frazier has now scored 28 or more points in four of his past five games.
But this game was much closer than anyone anticipated coming into the day. And LSU made it much more interesting when it could have folded after facing such a large deficit early.
Georgia (17-12, 8-8 SEC) jumped out to a 17-point lead in the first half and appeared poised for a rout over a team that entered the day as the SEC’s last-place team. But the Tigers managed to claw back into the game, slowly salting away at Georgia’s lead until trailing only be seven at the break.
But to start the second half, Georgia led by as many as 13 before LSU mounted yet another comeback.
LSU (9-19, 1-15) tied Georgia up 69-69 with 6:21 left to play and took a 78-77 lead late in the game with 1:23 to play after Wayde Sims put back a missed 3-point attempt into the hoop. It gave LSU its third lead of the game. The Tigers then took a three-point lead with a bucket from Antonio Blakeney in the paint a short time later. Georgia quickly answered with a lay-in from Derek Ogbeide off of an assist from Frazier to cut LSU’s lead to one.
On LSU’s ensuing possession, the Tigers ran the shot clock down as low as possible. After putting up a shot, LSU could not convert on a flurry of tip-in attempts with the ball eventually going out of bounds with 6.7 seconds left to play. Georgia was awarded possession, which was upheld after an official review.
That’s when Frazier got to the line to give Georgia the lead again. The Bulldogs ended the game leading the Tigers for 33:49.
Three who mattered
Frazier: Frazier was actually battling flu-like symptoms, although he tested negative after seeing a doctor Saturday morning. His 29 points paved the way for Georgia’s win, which included the two biggest free throws he has hit all season. Frazier also dished eight assists, which was a season-high.
Georgia guard Juwan Parker: Parker scored 12 points and hit some key shots throughout. Two of his four free-throw makes came with 4:47 left to play in the game.
LSU guard Antonio Blakeney: Blakeney scored a team-high 20 points on 7-of-18 shooting, which included a late bucket that put LSU up by three late in the game. He proved to be a tough defensive assignment for the Bulldogs
Frazier’s two free throws gave Georgia the lead again and ultimately the win.
Another close one: Georgia has now played the best and worst teams in the SEC down to the final minute of a game. Twice, the Bulldogs took Kentucky to the wire, although they lost both – one in overtime and the other in the final 60 seconds. LSU, the worst team in the SEC according to its record, was able to rally from a 17-point deficit and take a late lead. A loss to LSU would have likely ended any NCAA Tournament hopes. Georgia survived and still has a chance to emerge as a legitimate bubble contender if the wins can continue.
Missing Maten, again: Once more, Georgia missed forward Yante Maten’s presence with rebounding the basketball. The Bulldogs were out-rebounded by the Tigers 34-29. Before Frazier made his two free throws, LSU, up one, ran some clock with hopes of extending its lead to three. If the Tigers were able to convert a rebound and put it back in the basket, Georgia’s chances of a win would have been much, much tougher. Instead, LSU missed multiple opportunities to do so. Georgia came away fortunate to win and will need to continue figuring out a way to make up for not having the rebounding it lost with Maten’s injury.
Frazier moves up: At the 3:41 mark of the first half, Frazier passed Terry Fair for eighth all-time in scoring at Georgia. After scoring 29 points, Frazier (1,512 career points) trails Shandon Anderson for seventh all-time by only five points. After recording eight assists, Frazier moved into fifth place all-time with 407 in his career.
Crump contributes again: Georgia guard Tyree Crump has now scored six points on two 3-pointers in two consecutive games. The lone difference is Crump did so against Alabama in the second half. Against LSU, it occurred in the first half. Crump played eight minutes in the game.
They said it
Georgia head coach Mark Fox on Frazier’s game: “J.J. loves competition and that is one thing I loved about him when we recruited him. He just loves to compete and guys that love to compete are better when the game is on the line. That is one of the reasons why he is good, he has that personality trait and that certainly worked to our benefit (Saturday).”
Georgia guard Turtle Jackson on what he was thinking during Frazier’s free throws with 1.6 seconds left to play: “I can’t wait for them to go in. I know how hard he works and how many free throws he shoots every day. I’m sitting there knowing that it’s going to go in.”
LSU head coach Johnny Jones on his team and the foul on Frazier: “I thought we’ve played the best second half we’ve played in a long time this year. I thought they executed at a high level on both ends of the court. I thought they defended extremely hard. I hate to see games come down made – especially after kids have played as hard as they’ve played – to calls like that at the end, to unfortunately send them home with a defeat.”
Georgia, winners of four of its past five games, will take on Auburn at home next Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.