Entering Tuesday night’s contest at Stegeman Coliseum, no Georgia men’s basketball player had ever recorded a triple-double. It seems crazy that in today’s era of multi-dimensional players that can do it all, it has never happened. However, Sahvir Wheeler finally changed that, becoming the first, with an electrifying performance in front of a limited crowd that still made plenty of noise when Wheeler finally reached the mark.
Following a career-high in points against Florida, Wheeler tallied 14 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. This helped Georgia on its way to a 91-78 rout of the LSU Tigers. It was all Georgia, all night. The Bulldogs controlled the game from the onset, leading for over 37 out of 40 minutes. The Bulldogs did not allow Saturday’s poor shooting performance against the Gators to hold them back in Tuesday’s matchup.
“It’s a great feeling, but it’s an even better feeling for it to come out of a win,” said Sahvir Wheeler. “Guard rebounding is a big thing, especially in the league. That’s something that coach Crean has emphasized, so I try to help and get as many rebounds as I can. That makes our break faster… and guys made shots and that’s always a good thing. It was a good day.”
Tye Fagan, Toumani Camara and K.D. Johnson all got involved early on both ends of the floor. Camara recorded three blocks early in the first half, helping to set the tone defensively for the Bulldogs. LSU was one of the hotter teams in the conference, coming in as winners of three-straight games. However, the Bulldogs just overpowered the Tigers in almost every phase.
Camara went on to total a career-high 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting and also added 10 rebounds. On any other night, Camara’s play would have been the main storyline. He recorded his seventh double-double of the season, which leads the SEC. It just so happened that he and Wheeler played their most complete games of the season on the same night. Camara also stayed out of foul trouble, only committing one foul for the game. His impact when he’s on the court goes beyond statistics, but the Bulldogs were plus-11 when he was on the floor tonight.
“The team needs me, the team needs everybody on the court,” said Camara. “When someone is in foul trouble, it definitely affects the team a lot. So, it is something I am trying to get better at and learn every game.”
The Bulldogs even found a way to cut down on their biggest kryptonite this season – turnovers. Georgia only turned the ball over 11 times, which was its second lowest mark of the season. The Bulldogs now improve to 12-3 this season at home, which is one of the better records in the SEC. Georgia head coach Tom Crean said that despite the limited capacity this year, taking care of home court is still important to his team.
“You always want to protect the home court, especially in a year like this where you don’t have that extra adrenaline rush like we’ve had the last couple of years from a sellout crowd,” said Crean. “You’ve got to do even more as a team to make sure that you’re efficient and your bench energy is really really good.”
LSU’s Cam Thomas entered the game as the SEC’s leading scorer, averaging over 22 points per game. Thomas still scored 21 points, but it was by way of an inefficient 7-of-19 shooting performance from the field. The Bulldogs also held LSU’s Darius Days to only four points and five fouls.
Georgia now improves to 14-9 (7-9) and will remain in Athens to play South Carolina on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Bulldogs displayed one of their worst performances this season earlier in Columbia, so they should be motivated to correct that earlier matchup. With a win, Georgia can continue to move up the standings as the SEC Tournament looms. Crean also said he expects a makeup game to be added next week.