NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Shavon Coleman ripped off 14 of his team-leading 24 points during the second half as the LSU men's basketball team held on for a 68-63 victory over Georgia to open day two of the 2013 SEC Tournament Thursday at Bridgestone Arena.
For Coleman, he buried 9-of-11 from the floor highlighted by a career-best four three-pointers. The 24 points also was one point shy of a career-high set during the McNeese State game on November 13.
LSU (19-11) has won 10 of its last 15 games since January 23. The Tigers advance to face top-seeded and No. 13 Florida Friday in the quarterfinal round. Tip time is scheduled for 12 p.m. CT, and the game will be televised by ESPNU along with www.WatchESPN.com.
Andre Stringer tacked on 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting and reached double figures for the third straight game. He also came away with three rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Johnny O'Bryant III, an All-SEC First-Team performer, collected 12 points and 12 rebounds to claim his SEC-leading 15th double-double of the season, while Charles Carmouche turned in a solid all-around effort with seven points, four assists and two steals.
LSU built a 39-19 halftime advantage, but Georgia (15-17) mounted a spirited comeback attempt behind Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The 2013 SEC Player of the Year exploded for 25 of his career-high 32 points during the second half. Charles Mann added 15 points for the Bulldogs aided by a 12-for-14 performance at the foul line.
A pair of Mann free throws trimmed the LSU lead down to 63-61 with 1:06 remaining. On the next possession and with the shot clock running down, Stringer connected for a deep three-ball to put the Tigers back up by five points at 66-61 with 36 seconds to go.
Eight seconds later, Mann added two more free throws to return the score back to a one-possession game at 66-63.
After O'Bryant III missed a pair at the foul line, UGA had an opportunity to tie the score. Caldwell-Pope came off a screen but was forced into an off-balanced, contested triple by Coleman. The long rebound went to Stringer, who iced the victory with two free throws with 6.3 seconds on the clock to secure the 68-63 win.
Three keys to the LSU win was a 24-12 advantage in points in the paint along with a 13-3 edge in points off turnovers. The Tigers also committed a season's low five turnovers.
As a team, LSU garnered a 43.4 percent shooting clip going 23-for-53 from the field which included nine three-pointers. It marked the 12th time on the season that the Tigers have made at least nine triples. LSU also built on its single-season program mark and has canned 223 treys on the season.
Georgia was held to 28.6 percent and went 16-of-56 shooting. However, the Bulldogs nailed 23-of-30 at the foul line.
LSU came out clicking on all cylinders and buried seven of its first 11 shot attempts fueled by a quartet of three-pointers to jump out to an 18-7 advantage at the 13:19 mark. Coleman sparked the run with eight points and knocked down back-to-back treys to ignite the Tigers.
Ahead 23-13 with 10:48 left, the Tigers ripped off 16 off the final 21 points to take a 39-19 lead into the locker room. Carmouche totaled all three of his baskets, while O'Bryant III picked up a couple of lay-ups during the flurry. LSU's defense also limited the Bulldogs to one basket during that stretch.
Georgia's Caldwell-Pope fired in five quick points during the opening minute of the second half. His fourth three-pointer of the half brought the Bulldogs back to 54-44 at the 10:22 mark.
UGA sliced LSU's 63-51 advantage with 5:42 remaining down to the two points in the final moments behind 10 straight points coming from Caldwell-Pope and Mann.