ATHENS, Ga. - Johnny O'Bryant III turned in his fourth double-double of the season with 16 points to go along with a career-best 14 rebounds, but the LSU basketball team was handed a 67-58 defeat by Georgia Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum.
LSU (9-6, 0-4 SEC) dropped its fourth straight decision to open SEC play, while Georgia (7-10, 1-3 SEC) has won six of its last eight decisions at home.
The 16 points for O'Bryant III was his second-highest output of the season, only behind his 18-point effort versus Chattanooga on December 11. He was 5-of-8 from the floor and 6-of-8 at the foul line.
Anthony Hickey compiled 10 of his 12 points during the second half and has reached double figures in his last seven outings. He also secured six rebounds, five steals and two assists over his 37 minutes of action.
Making his first start since the Boise State game on December 14, Malik Morgan made the most of the opportunity and poured in a career-high 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting. He also tallied four rebounds and three steals before fouling out.
All square at 54-54, UGA's Donte' Williams connected for a three-point play at the 3:25 mark to put the Bulldogs ahead for good. On the next possession, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope knocked down a jumper on the right wing to extend the Georgia lead to five points.
The Bulldogs nailed all eight of their free throw attempts, four from Caldwell-Pope, inside the final 1:27 to secure the 67-58 victory. UGA's defense limited LSU to only a pair of field goals over the last 6:51 of the contest.
Caldwell-Pope amassed 13 of his game-leading 22 points in the second half. He notched a 7-for-14 shooting effort and recorded six steals in addition to five assists. Williams added 14 points whereas Nemanja Djurisic tacked on seven points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs.
LSU erased an early 10-4 deficit behind back-to-back Stringer triples and took its first lead at 12-10 on an O'Bryant III jumper with 14:23 remaining.
Morgan canned a pair of free throws and dropped in a runner down the line to give the Tigers their largest lead, 21-18 at the 8:46 mark.
Georgia reeled off 15 of the next 23 points behind a quartet of three-point plays to grab a 33-29 advantage heading into the locker room.
The Bulldogs continued their strong play during the opening moments of the second half and pushed their lead to 41-33 on a Williams three-point play with 17:01 left.
LSU turned to its full court pressure which flipped the momentum and produced immediate dividends en route to a 14-4 spurt. The run was sparked by a trio of Hickey three-pointers, the final one gave the Tigers a 47-45 edge at the 11:10 mark.
LSU returns home Wednesday to face Texas A&M as the Aggies makes their inaugural trip to the Maravich Center as a member of the SEC. Tip time is slated for 7 p.m., and the game will be carried live by the SEC Network. An online version of the telecast will be available via www.WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app. Tickets can be purchased online at LSUtix.net or by calling the LSU Athletics Ticket Office at (225) 578-2184.
The LSU Sports Radio Network also will broadcast the game on Eagle 98.1 FM in the Baton Rouge area and inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live. Jim Hawthorne, Ricky Blanton and Kevin Ford will call the action.
For all of the latest news and information on Tiger basketball, visit www.lsusports.net/basketball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsubasketball along with @lsubasketball on Twitter.