Freshman Shawn Phillips Jr.’s tiebreaking one-handed jam off a missed layup with 1:09 left lifted 14th-seeded LSU to a 72-67 victory over 11th-seeded Georgia in the first round of the SEC tournament on Wednesday in Nashville.
Phillips, who hadn’t scored more than four points in a game this season and averaged less than a point per game, finished with a season-high 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers (14-18).
KJ Williams added 18 points and eight rebounds for LSU, which faces sixth-seeded Vanderbilt (18-13) in a second-round game on Thursday.
Trae Hannibal had his first career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Adam Miller finished with 10 points for the Tigers, who ended a three-game losing streak with just their second win in the past 19 games.
Georgia (16-16), which dropped its sixth straight game, was led by Braelen Bridges and Justin Hill, who had 13 points apiece.
Terry Roberts had 12 points and six rebounds, while Jabri Abdur-Rahim and Kario Oquendo each scored 10 points for the Bulldogs.
Trailing 48-38 with 15:53 left, Georgia gradually chipped away at the Tigers’ lead and took a 59-57 advantage on Abdur-Rahim’s two free throws with 4:16 to play.
After Williams’ two free throws tied the game at 59 with 4:07 left, Justin Hill hit a pair of free throws to regain the lead for Georgia with 3:15 to go.
Miller gave LSU a 63-61 advantage with a four-point play with 3:02 left before Williams sank two more free throws to make it a four-point game with 2:19 remaining.
Roberts’ 3-pointer trimmed the lead to 65-64 with 2:08 left, but Phillips’ two free throws made it a three-point game with 1:45 left.
Hill’ three-point play pulled the Bulldogs even at 67 with 1:33 remaining before Phillips’ one-handed jam off Hannibal’s missed lay-up gave the Tigers a 69-67 lead with 1:09 to go.
Phillips blocked Bridges’ layup with 54 seconds left and Williams’ jumper extended the lead to 71-67 with 22.7 seconds remaining.
After Georgia took an 11-10 lead on Roberts’ 3-pointer with 12:04 left in the first half, the Tigers took over the game. LSU held the Bulldogs to just four field goals the rest of the half, enabling the Tigers to take a 42-30 halftime advantage.
–Field Level Media