Published Sunday, January 20, 2013
BY GEORGE HENRY
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) – Coach Mark Fox has been waiting for Georgia to keep its composure - and show some toughness - in an SEC game.
He finally got his wish.
"We haven't had a lot of confidence this season," Fox said. "But our team has had to overcome that, and I think we got a good start tonight."
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 22 points, Donte' Williams added 14 and Georgia snapped a three-game losing streak with a 67-58 victory over LSU on Saturday night.
Johnny O'Bryant finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds as LSU (9-6, 0-4 Southeastern Conference) lost its fourth straight. The Tigers committed 21 turnovers and handed out just six assists. They shot just 36 percent (18 of 50) from the field.
Anthony Hickey scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Tigers.
Georgia (7-10, 1-3) desperately needed to win to avoid potentially dropping its first five SEC contests with games next week at home against No. 10 Florida and at Texas A&M.
"We felt like we needed it really badly," center John Florveus said. "Nobody likes to lose, and nobody likes to be 0-3 in the conference. We were very hungry and determined. We came out and played hard, and we came out with a win."
The Bulldogs and Tigers played physically all game, fighting for loose balls and fouling each other hard before Caldwell-Pope collided in the final minute with LSU reserve guard Corban Collins, who dove into the Georgia star's leg and had to be helped off the floor.
Collins suffered a blow to the nose and an eye on the play. After the game, Caldwell-Pope and Georgia forward Nemanja Djurisic each were treated for minor injuries.
Both Bulldogs are expected to be ready to play next week, Caldwell-Pope with a cut leg and Djurisic with a swollen nose.
"It was very a hard-fought, gritty game," Williams said. "Some people got hurt or whatever. We just came out and played hard."
Caldwell-Pope, who is fourth in SEC scoring average (16.8 points per game coming in), has led Georgia's scoring in all but two games this season.
LSU played without starting senior guard Charles Carmouche, who made the trip but couldn't play because of sore knees.
Georgia led by eight with 16:49 remaining on a three-point play by Williams, but the Bulldogs struggled with LSU's full-court press midway through the second half with three turnovers and three straight missed 3s by Caldwell-Pope.
"I think our guys did an excellent job in terms of battling," LSU coach Johnny Jones said. "We didn't finish tonight because we didn't take care of the ball. We had some crucial and untimely turnovers there toward the end. "
The Tigers reclaimed the lead when Hickey hit consecutive 3s to make it 47-45 at the 11:10 mark.
Caldwell-Pope put Georgia back ahead 54-48 with a fast-break dunk and a layup that forced Jones to call timeout with 7:24 remaining.
Shavon Coleman responded with a straightaway jumper that cut the lead to two, and Nemanja Djurisic's turnover on a 5-second call for failing to inbound the ball in time caused Fox to call timeout.
Georgia went 4 minutes without a field goal before Brandon Morris fed Williams in the lane for a basket that caused Malik Morgan to foul out. Williams hit the ensuing free throw, and the Bulldogs led 57-54 with 3:25 to play.
O'Bryant hopes LSU keeps playing hard despite struggling to hold a lead.
"It's something we've got to do the rest of the season," he said. "In just about every loss, we had the lead. It's something we have to get better at, keep pushing."
Caldwell-Pope scored Georgia's next four points on a jumper and a pair of free throws, and Vincent Williams hit two free throws to give the Bulldogs a seven-point lead with 50 seconds remaining.
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