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Brandon Sampson makes his way through traffic earlier this week against Auburn.
Steve Franz

LSU Travels To Georgia For SEC Saturday Tilt

Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

ATHENS, Georgia – LSU will not have played since the first game of this SEC week on Tuesday. Georgia will take the court 45 hours after a Thursday night game at Alabama.

It’s the scheduling quirk that brings LSU and Georgia together here early Saturday evening for a basketball game in Stegeman Coliseum that will tip at 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. Baton Rouge time).

The game will be broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (Eagle 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge and LSUsports.net/live) with the Voice of the Tigers Chris Blair and televised on the SEC Network with Dave Neal and Jon Sundvold.

The Tigers are coming off a 98-75 loss to Auburn at home Tuesday in which the visiting Tigers broke up a three-point halftime game in the final 20 minutes over 60 percent overall and from the arc. Georgia, playing without one of the SEC’s leading scorers, Yante Maten (sprained knee), defeated Alabama, 60-55, in Tuscaloosa.

Georgia is 16-12 and 7-8 in the league and desperately jockeying for its postseason life, while LSU is 9-18 and 1-14 and desperately looking for its first victory since Jan. 4.

It appears that Georgia will need no help getting its crowd into and excited about the game against the Tigers as approximately 50 coaches, players and support staff from past Bulldog basketball teams will be returning to Stegeman Coliseum. Also Georgia will honor former head coach Hugh Durham, who was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame last November.

And if that’s not enough, UGA Football will be recognized for its NCAA Sportsmanship Award for its first-response care and subsequent support for injured Southern University football player Devon Gales and his family. On Sept. 26, 2015, during the third quarter of Georgia's game in Athens against Southern, Gales suffered a career-ending spinal injury while blocking on a kickoff return.

LSU and Georgia have met the last three times in Baton Rouge and 2014 marked the last time the two teams played in Athens (a 91-78 win for UGA). In 2015, the Tigers prevailed at the Maravich Center, 87-84 in double overtime, and last year, LSU won 89-85.

LSU leads the overall series, 64-44, but UGA leads in Athens, 26-22.

Last year, Tim Quarterman and Ben Simmons combined for 44 points in the win, but Antonio Blakeney had 12 points and Jalyn Patterson 11 to lead those returning for this year’s game.

Blakeney is currently working on a streak of five straight games over 20 points and in those five games is averaging over 27 points and shooting over 50 percent from the field and from the three-point arc.

J. J. Frazier had the big game for the Bulldogs in Tuscaloosa on Thursday with 28 points, 17 in the second half.

Coach Johnny Jones said Thursday at his media session that practices continue “to be good. The guys have competed.” He also said of Georgia: “They’re a team that's had some extremely close calls in terms of their setbacks and they've had some impressive wins as well. We know it’ll be a challenge on Saturday afternoon and we look forward to having the opportunity to go up and compete with one of the better teams in our league. Coach (Mark) Fox has done a tremendous job over the years and he’s put together another really nice team.”

After this, LSU returns for the home finale on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. against Tennessee. Senior Tribute ceremonies for Brian Bridgewater and Brandon Eddlestone will take place at 5:45 p.m. at the Maravich Center.

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