LSU bests Georgia 87-84 in 2 OTs

When Marcus Thornton tapped in a  Kenny Gaines miss with 1 second remaining to tie the game at 67-67 – sending it into overtime – it felt as though Georgia had been given new life.  With under 5 minutes remaining in regulation, UGA had trailed LSU 64-56, and the game had appeared to be slipping away from Coach Fox’s team.

However, Georgia kindly returned the favor to the Tigers in the first overtime, letting an 8-point lead vanish in less than 2 minutes, allowing LSU to push the game into a second overtime.  With the Dawgs leading 80-77 and only 29 seconds left, Charles Mann had a chance to ice the game from the free throw line.  Had Mann hit just one of two from the stripe, his team would have been in a great position to close out the game.  But alas, Charles missed them both, and LSU’s Tim Quartermann converted an old-fashioned three-point play to tie the game at 80, committing both teams to a second overtime.

The second overtime saw Coach Mark Fox’s team playing a bit short-handed, without the services of Neme Djurisic or Kenny Gaines; Neme fouled out at the end of regulation, and Gaines committed his 5th foul in the first minute of the second OT.  Even so, Georgia had two chances to tie the game in the waning 26 seconds, trailing 87-84, but Charles Mann turned the ball over twice, and UGA lost its second straight SEC game.

Mann may have been fouled from beyond the arc on his attempt in the closing seconds (Coach Fox certainly appeared to think so based on his arm movements). But even so, it’s hard to imagine the 61% free throw shooter converting three straight from the line in a high-pressure situation.

Mann, who was just one point and one rebound shy of a double-double, had a tough night controlling the basketball, giving it away 6 times.  His backup, J.J. Frazier, had 5 turnovers himself to go along with an 0 for 7 shooting performance from the floor.  Georgia followed up a sloppy second half against Arkansas with a 20-turnover effort in Baton Rouge, once again allowing ball security to plague them.

UGA’s scoring was again balanced, with five players finishing in double-figures.  Kenny Gaines led the way with 19 points, and Marcus Thornton chipped in 16 points and 16 rebounds en route to his 4th double-double of the season.  The Dawgs also got a nice effort – 10 points and 6 boards – from Cameron Forte, who played bigger minutes in the absence of Kenny Paul Geno (broken wrist).

Defensively, Georgia owned the glass, winning the rebounding battled 50 to 34.  However, the Dawgs failed to corral sophomore Tim Quartermann, who scored a game and career-high 27 points, hitting 6 of his 10 three-point attempts.  Quartermann, a native of Savannah, Georgia, was a recruiting target of Mark Fox’s two years ago – too bad he couldn’t land him, Georgia may have won this game.

LSU also got 15 points from Jalyn Patterson, a freshman from Alpharetta.

UGA is now 0-2 in conference play, and they are not going to win many games if Charles Mann doesn’t start playing better.  In the pair of games, Mann is a combined 4 of 14 from the floor, and he has 10 turnovers to just 5 assists.  Mann, who was selected to the preseason All-SEC team, has yet to play the part since league competition has begun.

Life doesn’t get any easier for the Dawgs as they must travel on Wednesday to Nashville to play on Vanderbilt’s raised floor – a venue where Georgia has not won in nearly a decade, dating back to February 4, 2006.

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