Stop me if you've heard this before. Auburn had a double-digit first half lead, were playing excellent defense, and then let the game get away from them and lost.
That's the story of way too many games during the 2016-17 regular season. If Auburn protected those double-digit leads every time, this would be a definite tourney team. Unfortunately, they haven't done that. So, we're sitting here just hoping there's the chance that the Tigers make some sort of postseason appearance this year.
Midway through the first half in this one, the Tigers had a 16 point lead. They were draining every three-point shot. They were forcing numerous turnovers and capitalizing on them. Then, they started getting stupid and playing sloppy. They went for too many lobs and no-look passes. That let UGA get in transition and start getting J.J. Frazier hot. That's the last thing Auburn needed, and once Frazier got hot, UGA came alive.
First, it was a 9-0 run to cut into the lead. They slowly worked their way back into it to within four points. The Tigers were able to get into the half with a 37-30 lead, though.
In the second half, UGA started draining three-pointers. They hardly missed a single one and J.J. Frazier was draining everything in sight. The Bulldogs held the lead for most of the last half of the 2nd half, but Auburn was able to do an excellent ob of staying in the game. With every J.J. Frazier three, there was an Auburn answer. The Tigers hung in there until luck fell their way perfectly for the final seconds.
Auburn cut the lead to three on a big three-pointer. UGA then fouled Danjel Purifoy on a rebound and he cut it to one point by hitting both. Then, Frazier tried to force things on Senior Night in Athens and turned the ball over to the Tigers to give Auburn a chance with 7.5 seconds to play. Auburn got the in-bounds in and Harper pulled up for a long three-pointer, but the ball hit the rim and failed to drop.
Honestly, I have no idea of the thinking with that final shot. Harper can hit some shots, but with the way Bryce Brown was shooting, if you were going to go for a 3, why not get the ball to him? Or, better yet, go to the basket and try to at least get a foul.
Auburn falls to 17-13 on the season overall, and are definitely going to need a win against Mizzou and a win or two in the SEC Tournament to have a good chance at the postseason. They'll finish the regular season Saturday at home against Missouri at 2:30 pm Central.