Sahvir Wheeler records Georgia’s first-ever triple-double in win

Credit: SEC

Georgia sophomore Sahvir Wheeler recorded the first triple-double in school history in a 91-78 upset of LSU at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens.

Credit: SEC

ATHENS — All Georgia eyes have been on Sahvir Wheeler’s bid to become the Bulldogs’ single-season assist leader. He didn’t get that Tuesday night, but he did record the first triple-double in school history and the first in the SEC this season.

More importantly, the sophomore guard did it in what was a stunning 91-78 upset of LSU at Stegeman Coliseum.

Wheeler’s 10th assist – he already had 12 points and 10 rebounds at that point – was as crazy as one will ever see. Wheeler hit K.D. Johnson on a drive with an alley-oops pass, but Johnson’s dunk caught the rim and bounced straight up in the air. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, it came straight down and through. That gave the Bulldogs their biggest lead, 22 points, with 10:46 remaining in the game.

“Yeah, the lob; I was glad it went in,” Wheeler said with a laugh. “I was hoping they wouldn’t call offense goaltending or interference, but they let it play out.”

Wheeler would go on to add to all his totals. He finished with 14 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds. The 13 “dimes” were the second most in a single game at Georgia – the record is 15 – and left Wheeler just four shy of the all-time mark of 152 held by Pertha Robinson since 1995.

“I had no idea of the trible-double until after the game when John Bateman told me,” coach Tom Crean said, referring to the UGA’s basketball administrator. “I had no idea because I don’t look at the stats in the game. But it’s phenomenal, incredible when you think they’ve played basketball here 116 years and it’s the first time here. And really he had a quadruple-double because he had 10 deflections, too.

Wheeler could possibly establish a single-season assists record Saturday when the Bulldogs (14-9, 7-9 SEC) host South Carolina.

“I knew the double-double was possible with eight rebounds at the half,” Wheeler said when asked if he knew he was on the cusp of something special. “I was trying to get to 10 so I could secure the double-double. But then we started making some shots, like P.J. (Horne) and Toumani (Camara) outside and getting some nice cuts from K.D. Then I was, like, there might be a chance here (for a triple-double).

The Bulldogs also got a double-double from Camara, who had 21 points and nine rebounds. That was Camara’s seventh double-double of the year, which leads the SEC. Johnson added 21 points and Tye Fagan 18 as Georgia shot 46.4% from the field and had only 11 turnovers compared to 19 assists.

Georgia's Toumani Camara (10) celebrates with his team following 91-78 win over LSU Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens. (Tony Walsh/UGA)
Georgia's Toumani Camara (10) celebrates with his team following 91-78 win over LSU Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens. (Tony Walsh/UGA)

Credit: UGA

Credit: UGA

But the postgame buzz was all about Wheeler.

“It’s amazing, just amazing,” said Camara, who also had three blocks. “Sahvir is a great leader, a great point guard, so much fun to be around. It’s just great, and something I knew he was capable of.”

LSU (14-7, 9-5) was led by freshman Cameron Thomas with 21 points, but it took him 19 shots to get it. Javonte Smart added 19 points and Trendon Watford had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bulldogs’ victory avenges a 94-92 overtime loss to LSU in Baton Rouge on Jan. 6. The Tigers were the fifth consecutive team Georgia played that projects as an NCAA Tournament team. The Bulldogs also beat No. 24 Missouri 80-70 last Tuesday.

South Carolina, which handed the Bulldogs a 24-point loss in Columbia on Jan. 27, visits Saturday at 1 p.m. (SECN). Georgia has a final regular-season game pending on March 3. Initially, it was thought to be against Texas A&M, but the Aggies have missed seven games in a row due to COVID-19. Crean said he’s been told the Bulldogs will get a final game, they just don’t know who it will be against.

The Bulldogs had been telling themselves they’d be tough to beat if they could ever put together two strong halves. Georgia got behind by at least 13 points in each of its last four games.

This time it was the Bulldogs who shot out to the big lead. They were up 45-29 at halftime.

“It was a very efficient game in many ways, and against an outstanding team,” Crean said. “They have enormously talented player. We knew from playing them the first time we had to better better defensively, better taking care of the ball. And we did.”

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