No. 25 LSU roars into home game vs. Georgia
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LSU has won seven consecutive games, a surge that landed the Tigers at No. 25 this week after a seven-week absence in the AP poll.
Coach Will Wade is looking to see how his team handles that ranking when it hosts Georgia in an SEC game Wednesday night.
"We did not handle it very well the first time we were ranked," Wade said. "Hopefully we will handle it better, but there are no shortcuts. Human nature is to relax; human nature is to give in a little bit.
"You have to fight human nature, double down on what you do, be tougher in what you do, be better with your details, be better with how hard you compete and be better with how connected you are in a group. All that stuff has to be better and hopefully we have learned from the first time because we handled it very poorly."
LSU (14-3, 4-0 SEC) was ranked No. 23 in the preseason poll and climbed to No. 19 as it won its first five games. Then it lost back-to-back games in the AdvoCare Invitational on Thanksgiving weekend in Orlando, Fla., and fell out of the rankings.
Georgia (9-8, 1-4) has Wade's attention after winning the past three meetings with the Tigers.
"We don't have anybody in that locker room that's beaten Georgia," Wade said. "We didn't beat them two years ago. We got blasted at their place last year. We lost here.
"If you can't get excited to beat Georgia -- that should be motivation. We need to play better. They have a lot of guys in their locker room that have beaten LSU a few times. We need to make sure that we're ready to play and do something we've never done -- beat them -- in three years. It would be nice if we could focus on that."
LSU has won its past 17 home games, dating to last season. Its last home loss was a 61-60 setback against the Bulldogs last January.
The most recent LSU win was an 89-67 home rout of South Carolina on Saturday in which LSU led by as many as 33 points. Six Tigers scored in double figures.
Senior forward Kavell Bigby-Williams was named SEC Player of the Week for his play against the Gamecocks and in an 83-69 victory at Ole Miss on Jan. 15. He averaged 13 points, 10.5 rebounds and had six blocks in the two wins, making 71.4 percent of his field goal attempts (10 of 14) and 6 of 8 of his free throws.
The Bulldogs have lost their last three games, falling to nationally ranked Auburn and Kentucky, before losing at home to Florida, 62-52, last Saturday.
Georgia trailed by 10 points at halftime but led by as many as five points in the second half before falling short against the Gators. The Bulldogs shot 57.9 percent in the second half, but finished at just 39.5 percent for the game.
"When you play the game to score, you rarely do," Georgia first-year coach Tom Crean said.
"When you play the game to move the ball, defend, get on the glass, talk on defense, and when the ball's finding energy, it's amazing how many people score. We saw what can happen in the second half. When we bear down and play the right way with a spirit and a toughness, that's going to make us different."
Georgia committed 20 turnovers, which led to 28 points by the Gators.
"I think we have plenty enough shooters that those (shooting) problems will fix themselves," senior forward E'torrion Wilridge said. "When we struggle, it is not that big of a deal because we shoot so much every day that we are not too worried about missing shots. But we just got to keep up the pace.
"We had some timely turnovers that killed that momentum. I think that is what swung it in their favor. We can't have those live-ball turnovers that lead to points. That really swings the momentum."
--Field Level Media
Updated January 22, 2019