NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Gerald Robinson scored 23 points, Dustin Ware added 13 and Georgia beat Mississippi State 71-61 in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Thursday night.
Georgia stretched its lead to 54-41 on Robinson's layup with 8:12 remaining, but Mississippi State had one last rally. Jalen Steele scored nine points in 90 seconds, and his final 3-pointer pulled the Bulldogs within 60-57 with 3:44 remaining.
But Georgia (15-16) -- the tournament's No. 11 seed -- held on for the surprising win. Robinson's jumper with 59 seconds left gave his team an insurmountable 66-59 lead.
Sixth-seeded Mississippi State (21-11) was led by Jalen Steele's 19 points.
Mississippi State has lost six of its past eight. Georgia has won three of four and will face Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals on Friday.