(Georgia 73, LSU 53: Click here for game story.)
ATHENS — Amid the good news for Georgia’s basketball team Wednesday night –- a 20th win, a move into a second-place tie in the SEC East and fitting farewells to Stegeman Coliseum for two senior players — there was a bit of bad news:
Trey Thompkins is questionable for the regular-season finale at Alabama on Saturday.
Thompkins has been bothered this week by an injured toe and, according to coach Mark Fox, had part of a toenail removed on Tuesday. The tender toe obviously was bothering Thompkins in Wednesday’s game, limiting him to 22 minutes –- just six in the second half.
Afterward, Fox suggested Thompkins might not play in Tuscaloosa, where the Crimson Tide is unbeaten this season (15-0).
“I’m not sure, to be honest with you, if he’ll make it to the weekend,” Fox said. “We’ve got to get him healthy. The poor kid has been hurt the entire year.”
Thompkins, Georgia’s leading scorer (15.8 points per game) and rebounder (7.5 per game), had a severe ankle sprain at the start of the season and later had an injured shin.
With or without him, Georgia could benefit considerably from a win at Alabama if two other games break the Bulldogs’ way this weekend.
Wednesday’s 73-53 victory over a young LSU team put Georgia in a three-way tie with Kentucky and Vanderbilt for second place in the SEC East heading into the final weekend of the regular season. If Georgia remains tied with either or both of those teams, the Bulldogs would lose the tiebreaker for the No. 2 East seed and first-round bye in the SEC tournament. But if Georgia wins at Alabama, Vanderbilt loses at home to Florida and Kentucky loses at Tennessee, the Bulldogs would finish alone in second place and get the bye.
LSU coach Trent Johnson said after Wednesday’s game that as far as he is concerned, Georgia is an NCAA tournament lock. “I don’t know what everyone is worrying about,” said Johnson, a close friend of Fox’s. “There’s no question to me.” Fox wants to continue building the portfolio by winning at Alabama and in the SEC tournament, but he also feels strongly that the Bulldogs have proven their worthiness.
“Nine wins with a chance of 10 in this league, OK? Twenty wins in the regular season. A good nonconference resume,” Fox said. “I wouldn’t sit here and tell you that we’re in the NCAA tournament, that we can be satisfied with where we sit. Now, if I were sitting here with the selection committee, with some other coaches, I’d argue all day for our team. You’re darn right I’d argue all day for our team. I think we’ve put ourselves in great position, but we still have games to play, and we can’t be satisfied.”
– Tim Tucker, AJC