WATCH: Georgia loses when fan throws stuffed animal on floor with .5 seconds left

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Controversy abounds in Athens!

With their season essentially over and their head coach trashing the players that are currently on the roster, Georgia still found a way to make an enormous comeback at home against Mississippi State, tying the game at 67 with less than 10 seconds left in the game.

That’s when the controversy hit.

It started with a controversial foul call, as Jordan Harris did not appear to hit Quinndary Weatherspoon on a jumper with 0.5 seconds left on the clock, but a foul was called anyway. That sent Weatherspoon to the line where, with the entire arena still booing the officials, a fan threw a stuffed animal at Weatherspoon as he missed the first of two free throws.

A technical foul was called, giving Weatherspoon an extra free throw attempt. He made it, then intentionally missed the second. Georgia was unable to even get a shot off, and that was it.

Mississippi State won.

All thanks to a stuffed animal.

Waters, Smart lead No. 19 LSU over Georgia, 83-79

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ATHENS, Ga. — Tremont Waters scored 20 points, Ja’vonte Smart added 19 and No. 19 LSU won its fourth straight game, holding off Georgia for an 83-79 victory Saturday night.

The Tigers (21-4, 11-1 Southeastern Conference) are off to their best start in league play since the 1981 Final Four team was 11-0. They never trailed after Smart’s 3-pointer midway through the second half, but Georgia stayed close and didn’t allow LSU to lead by more than eight the rest of the way.

LSU was down six midway through the first half, but went on a 17-2 run to take a 31-22 lead on Skylar Mays’ layup. Georgia remained in the game, thanks in part to a sixth straight sellout crowd at Stegeman Coliseum making it tough on the Tigers.

Nicolas Claxton finished with 17 points and Rayshaun Hammonds had 13 for Georgia (10-15, 1-11). The Bulldogs have lost six straight in their first season under coach Tom Crean.

TIP-INS

LSU: The Tigers keep finding ways to win on the road. They sneaked out of Rupp Arena this week with an upset victory on Kavel Bigby-Williams’ last-second tip-in against Kentucky, and they’ve won three times in overtime. It’s a big turnaround after LSU lost its final seven SEC road games last season and dropped nine in a row away from Baton Rouge before starting league play this year. The Tigers are 7-0 on the road in the SEC for the first time since 1981.

Georgia: In 24 SEC halves played this season, the Bulldogs have been outscored 20 times. … Crean went with a three-guard starting lineup, sitting forward Derek Ogbeide and guard Teshaun Hightower in favor of Turtle Jackson, Jordan Harris and walk-on redshirt senior Christian Harrison. … The Bulldogs have struggled all season off the dribble and in giving help, so Crean mostly used a 2/3 zone in hopes to jump-starting the defense. It didn’t help much as LSU, the SEC’s best free-throw shooting team, still made it to the rim to draw fouls and score 18 points from the foul line.

Anthony Edwards, No. 1 prospect in 2019, commits to Georgia over Kentucky

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Georgia has beaten out Kentucky for the commitment of the No. 1 player in the Class of 2019.

Anthony Edwards, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Atlanta, announced on Monday morning that he will be playing for Tom Crean and the Bulldogs.

“I chose Georgia because two of my favorite players, Victor Oladipo and Dwyane Wade, played for Tom Crean,” Edwards said.

Originally a member of the Class of 2020, Edwards is considered the favorite to end up at the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. He has the size, the frame and the athleticism to play two-guard in the NBA, but what makes him the best off-guard prospect in years is that he has all of the physical tools and the game to be an impact player at the highest level.

Offensively, Edwards is very well-rounded. He’s a good enough shooter that defenders have to crowd him, which is not something that players at the high school level can do with his ability to penetrate. He’s an above-the-rim finisher, but he’s also a willing and capable passer. In an era where basketball at the highest level tends to be isolation-heavy with shooters spacing the floor to allow the stars to make a play, Edwards could not be a more perfect fit.

Edwards joins a pair of top 100 prospects — wings Jaykwon Walton and Toumani Camara — in Georgia’s 2019 recruiting class.

This is a massive pickup for the Bulldogs, but it will be interesting to see how Edwards’ game fits in on a Georgia team that has not been good this year. The Bulldogs won’t have a ton of spacing, and the way things stand, their best players project to be big men.

“He’s one of the best scorers that I’ve seen in 20 years of covering basketball in Georgia,” said Justin Young, founder of HoopSeen.com and a longtime scout in the state. “The only guy I can think of that can is similar is Louis Williams. He’s tremendous as a bucket-getter. He can lead the SEC in scoring as a freshman, and Tom will give him the ball. He told him from Day 1, I want you to be Dwyane Wade, and I think Anthony has that sort of dog in him. He’s one of the best second half scorers I’ve ever seen, he’s really dominated the second half of games he’s played, but that hasn’t translated into wins. That will be the biggest challenge. The talent is there. It’s how does Crean channel all that and get the most out of him for his program.”

But what is clear is that Edwards will be their No. 1 option from the second that he sets foot on campus in Athens, and there is a chance that he could end up being the best scorer in the SEC.

Waters leads No. 25 LSU past Georgia 92-82 for 8th straight

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BATON ROUGE, La. — A little more than a month ago, LSU point guard Tremont Waters went to the bench for two games.

Since returning to the starting lineup in the Tigers’ final non-conference game, Waters has been a different player. He delivered his best game of the season Wednesday night as No. 25 LSU beat Georgia 92-82 to remain unbeaten in Southeastern Conference play.

Waters scored a season-high 26 points, making nine of his 14 field goal attempts and seven of 11 free throws. In addition, he had four assists and four steals with no turnovers in 32 minutes to help the Tigers win their eighth straight overall.

“I was just playing basketball,” Waters said. “My teammates and coaching staff told me to just keep playing and let the game come to me. That is what I did. It was not our best game. Going into the game, things were a little shaky. We were able to pull it out. We have to just keep building and learn from it.”

Waters, averaging 17.5 points and 7.8 assists over the last six games, had a hand in 13 straight points by the Tigers late. He scored 10 points and had an assist that led to a three-point play by Kavell Bigby-Williams as LSU extended a seven-point lead to 12 with 45 seconds to play.

Skylar Mays matched his season best for the Tigers (15-3, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) with 20 points. Naz Reid had 15 and Ja’vonte Smart added 10.

“Tre was great and Sky was great in the first half,” LSU coach Will Wade said. “They bailed us out with their offense. We were able to score at will against their matchup (zone) and their man. We scored 92 points and only turned it over eight times. Our defense looked like it did at the beginning of the year.”

Rayshaun Hammonds paced Georgia (9-9, 1-5) with 18 points. Nicolas Claxton had 15, Derek Ogbeide added 14 and Jordan Harris scored 10.

The Bulldogs made 54 percent of their field goal attempts (30 of 56), including 47 percent on 3-pointers (8 of 17).

“LSU is really good,” Georgia coach Tom Crean said. “They are extremely talented and (Wade) has done a fantastic job of getting a bunch of young guys to understand what it takes to win, and that is to be so good on the glass. Also, when you play LSU, it starts with Tremont and his ability to pass.”

A 14-0 run early in the first half enabled LSU to take control. Trailing 13-8, the Tigers got two baskets, one a 3-pointer, from Waters to tie the score. Smart’s 3-pointer put LSU in front for good at 16-13.

Marlon Taylor made two foul shots and Smart knocked down a short jumper. A dunk by Taylor gave the Tigers a 22-13 lead with 12:07 left before halftime. Georgia got no closer than five the rest of the half. Mays scored 12 points in the last eight minutes as LSU took a 48-36 lead into halftime.

The Bulldogs cut their deficit to 50-44 less than two minutes into the second half. Waters and Reid made baskets to give the Tigers a double-digit lead. Georgia trailed by at least eight the remainder of the game.

ON A ROLL

LSU has won 18 straight home games — tying its second-longest streak in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The arena record is 23 in a row. LSU has also won eight consecutive games overall for the first time since the 2014-15 season, and five straight SEC games for the first time since a 10-game conference winning streak in 2008-09.

STRONG BACKCOURT

Georgia had no answer for LSU’s starting backcourt of Waters and Mays, who shot a combined 14 of 23 from the field with six assists and no turnovers. Mays was 8 of 8 at the foul line.

LEAKY DEFENSE

In all three of its SEC losses on the road, Georgia has allowed at least 90 points. Tennessee defeated the Bulldogs 96-50 and Auburn handed them a 93-78 defeat. LSU made 50 percent of its field goal attempts (33 of 66). The Vols shot slightly higher than 50 percent from the field and Auburn made exactly 50 percent. Georgia allowed LSU to score 44 points in the paint and 21 at the foul line.

BIG PICTURE

LSU: The Tigers have won their first five SEC games for just the third time in the past 50 seasons. On the other two occasions, LSU won the conference championship and advanced to the Final Four. The Tigers won their first 17 conference games in 1981 and their first seven in 2006.

Georgia: The Bulldogs dropped their fourth consecutive game. All five of Georgia’s SEC defeats have been by double digits.

UP NEXT

LSU: The Tigers begin a two-game road swing at Missouri on Saturday.

Georgia: The Bulldogs host Texas in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Tuesday’s Three Things To Know: It was a surprisingly wild night in college hoops

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While Golden State was busy putting up 50 points in a quarter, the college basketball world had themselves a wild night that featured a pair of top 25 teams winning in the final seconds, some big dogs rolling and a couple of trendy teams taking ugly losses.

Here is what you need to know from Tuesday night:

1. THE BIG BOYS ROLLED

The biggest game of the night ended up being one of the most boring games of the night, as No. 4 Virginia put away No. 9 Virginia Tech before we reached the under eight media timeout. The Wahoos hit nine of their first 11 threes, finished 13-for-24 from beyond the arc on the evening and took a 44-22 lead into halftime, eventually knocking off the Hokies, 81-59. It was an utterly dominant performance from Tony Bennett’s club, and one that had our Travis Hines convincing himself that this is the year for UVA.

The Cavs weren’t the only big dog to handle their business in impressive fashion on Tuesday. No. 3 Tennessee jumped out to a 23-6 lead on Arkansas and never looked back, beating the Razorbacks 106-87 in a game where the Vols never seemed to get out of third gear. While that was happening, No. 12 Kentucky was in the midst of going into Stegeman Coliseum and dropping a hammer on Georgia, 69-49. Ashton Hagans — who was previously committed to the Bulldogs — put a career-high 23 points on the board.

And lastly, while the Tar Heels didn’t run away with this win, they did manage to hold off Notre Dame, 75-69. This win was notable because of the second half performance from Nassir Little. He scored just 11 points, but all of them came in the final 11 minutes, and he had nine in a 14-6 run that turned a deficit into a 65-58 lead.

2. SAM HAUSER SAVES No. 15 MARQUETTE, No. 17 N.C. STATE IS NOT SO LUCKY

Hauser put up a career-high 31 points to go along with eight boards in a 74-71 win at Georgetown as he was forced into point guard duties as Markus Howard was dealing with a lower back issue and Joseph Chartouny has apparently forgotten how to be a point guard. The Hoyas are not exactly a powerhouse these days, but they are a dangerous team offensively that has won some games we did not expect them to win, and going into Washington D.C. and winning this game without the Big East Player of the Year is, frankly, really impressive.

And important.

The Golden Eagles remain the only team that is one game behind Villanova in the Big East regular season title race.

N.C. State was not as fortunate. Playing without starting point guard Markell Johnson, the Wolf Pack found themselves down by 15 points at the half and by as many as 22 points in the second half at Wake Forest. A 29-7 run tied the game at 58 with about seven minutes left in the game, but Wake Forest did enough down the stretch to get the win, 71-67.

This is not a great loss for N.C. State, who has now lost two of their last three games and no longer looks like a top 25 basketball team.

3. THE OLE MISS HYPE TRAIN DERAILS

The trendy team this week was Ole Miss, and deservedly so — in the span of 96 hours, they beat No. 11 Auburn by 15 points and went into Starkville and picked off No. 14 Mississippi State. They were 13-2 on the season and 3-0 in the SEC at that point. They deserved to be trendy.

And it all came crashing down with a visit from LSU. Tremont Waters scored 20 points and added nine assists as the Tigers knocked off No. 18 Ole Miss, 83-69, in Oxford. Now 3-0 in the league, it may be time that we start looking at LSU as the new Ole Miss.

AND I NEED TO MENTION …

That a pair of top 25 teams survived at the last second. In Starkville, Mississippi State survived Florida, 71-68, thanks to a three-point play from Quinndary Weatherspoon with 3.6 seconds left on the clock. And out in Boise, No. 10 Nevada knocked off Boise State, 72-71, thanks to a three with 4.5 seconds left from Cody Martin, who had not made a three since Dec. 15th and was shooting 19.5 percent from beyond the arc entering the night.

Hagans silences Georgia crowd, lifts No. 12 Kentucky, 69-49

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ATHENS, Ga. — Ashton Hagans silenced a hostile crowd by scoring a season-high 23 points, leading No. 12 Kentucky to a 69-49 victory over Georgia on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats (13-3, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) pulled away in the second half for their third straight victory.

Hagans, a freshman who initially committed to Georgia out of high school but wound up signing with Kentucky, was booed by the sellout crowd at Stegeman Coliseum each time he touched the ball.

It sure didn’t seem to bother him.

The point guard reached double figures for the fifth game in a row, eclipsing the 18 points he scored a week ago against Texas A&M. But the youngster’s contribution went much deeper on the stat sheet — he also had five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Hagans’ performance was especially galling for a Georgia team that could’ve had him running the offense. The Bulldogs’ point guard, senior Turtle Jackson, managed only two points on 1-of-8 shooting.

Georgia (9-7, 1-3) led by five in the opening minutes before going to the locker room down 35-31.

Hagans took control after halftime. He knocked down a 3-pointer just ahead of the shot-clock buzzer, darted into the lane to lay one in, and scored off a steal by Tyler Herro to suddenly push the lead into double figures, 42-31.

Kentucky steadily pulled away from there.

In the closing minutes, as most of the red-clad fans headed for the exits, a sizeable contingent of Wildcat fans chanted, “Go Big Blue!”

Nicolas Claxton led Georgia with 12 points. The Bulldogs shot only 30 percent (17 of 56) from the field.

HOMECOMING

Hagans played his high school ball about an hour’s drive from Athens.

The freshman initially committed to play for the Bulldogs and their previous coach, Mark Fox. But Hagans backed off his commitment last February when it became apparent that Fox’s job could be in jeopardy. Indeed, Fox was fired after the season and replaced by Tom Crean.

Hagans wound up signing with Kentucky — though he remains a Georgia football fan.

BIG PICTURE

Kentucky: Hagans is really taking control of the Wildcats after playing limited minutes early in the season.

Georgia: The Bulldogs still have a lot of work to do, especially in the backcourt. The other starting guard, Teshaun Hightower, had only five points.