ATHENS, Ga. (AP)—The last time Levi Stukes sank a game-winning 3-pointer, the first teammate off the bench to jump in his arms was Kevin Brophy.
On the day Georgia honored Brophy, who died in an automobile accident on July 19, Stukes delivered another last-second 3 to lift the Bulldogs to a 57-54 win over No. 21 Louisiana State on Sunday.
Brophy’s family traveled from Australia for a pregame ceremony. The Bulldogs wear “Do it for Broph” patches on their jerseys this season to honor the player who came to Georgia as a walk-on and earned a scholarship in his second year.
Stukes said he immediately thought of his former teammate after making his first game-winning shot since he hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in overtime to top South Carolina on Jan. 14, 2006.
“When I hit the game-winning shot at South Carolina, the first guy who was off the bench hugging me and on top of me was Kevin Brophy,” Stukes said.
“This means a whole lot to me, more than last year’s, I think, because when I think about my career here and the shots I made, this shot is probably the one I’ll remember the most because of Kevin.”
After making the shot, Stukes was hugged by members of Brophy’s family.
The loss left LSU (13-7, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) with its first three-game losing streak since losing the final three games of its 2003-04 season.
LSU, an NCAA Final Four team last season, lost despite holding Georgia to 34.5 percent shooting from the field. Glen Davis led LSU with 18 points, 14 rebounds and a career-high six assists.
“I thought that we played hard and did enough things to win this game,” said LSU coach John Brady. “The bottom line is the game came down to the last shot and they made it.”
It was Stukes’ fourth 3-pointer of the game and was one of eight second-half 3s by the Bulldogs (13-6, 5-2). He finished with 16 points.
Stukes said he and point guard Sudiatta Gaines planned the play.
“I told Sundiata ‘Let’s relive what we did last year. You drive and if you feel like you need to give the ball up, I’m going to be right here,”’ Stukes said. “He found me again and I was able to get the shot up.”
Georgia spread the floor to open room for Gaines to dribble while working the clock.
“(Gaines) has been so good that I think LSU was fearful of his ability to penetrate, and that gave him some room,” said Georgia coach Dennis Felton. “He made the perfect decision and had a huge assist. Levi had to do the easy part.”
LSU guard Garrett Temple was guarding Gaines and had late help from teammate Tasmin Mitchell, leaving Stukes open.
“Next time in that situation, we should help and get back to our man,” Temple said, adding Stukes “was hitting the 3s the whole game.”
“It was just a miscommunication,” Temple said.
Takais Brown had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Georgia, which has won five of its last six games.
Terry Martin made 4 of 7 3-pointers to score 16 points for LSU.
Brady tweaked his offense following consecutive losses to Arkansas and Vanderbilt and the Tigers tried to open more room in the middle for Davis, the 295-pound power forward.
LSU, which missed 23 of its first 26 shots in the home loss to Vanderbilt on Wednesday night, enjoyed a hot start against Georgia. The Tigers, led by Davis inside and Martin’s 3-point shooting, led 13-2 and 19-7.
When Georgia’s defense attempted to collapse on Davis, the junior was effective setting up baskets for teammates.
Georgia took a 43-41 lead on a 3-pointer by Billy Humphrey. LSU answered with eight straight points, including two baskets by Davis, to lead 49-43.
The Bulldogs did not have a two-point field goal in the second half until a follow-up jam by Mike Mercer tied the game at 54-54 with 2:25 left to play.
“When you hold your opponents to 34 percent from the field on the road, you expect to have a good chance to win the game,” Brady said. “I don’t have any problems with the way we played defensively.”