Yo. Auburn beat Georgia last night. That’s the bottom line, and that’s what’s important. Anytime you beat the Bulldogs is a banner day. Doesn’t matter if it’s football, basketball, tiddlywinks, or your weekly math quiz. We beat Georgia, and it’s all good.
There were some good highlights in there. Of utmost importance, the Chuma Okeke game-winning three over the home state rivals, Jared Harper’s endless stream of deep bombs, and Horace Spencer doing Horace Spencer things were all huge plays that factored in at the end.
Let’s take a look at the numbers. Auburn shot 45%, went 11-31 from three, and 9-11 from the foul line. They got out-rebounded 29-23, but they only committed 7 turnovers. Meanwhile, Georgia hit 53% of their shots, while going 12-16 from the foul line, and 9-21 from deep. Those numbers suggest a close game, and it was right down to the final minute.
Ladies and gentlemen, Chuma Okeke pic.twitter.com/B8DjT0rvt6— joshdub (@joshdub_) February 28, 2019
With just three seconds left on the shot clock after a Nicholas Claxton block out of bounds, Auburn got the inbound pass to Chuma Okeke, and he buried a left-wing three for the lead. The Bulldogs couldn’t do anything with the final possession and only got off a last bad shot to try and tie.
“Just let it fly.”— Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) February 28, 2019
@chuma_okeke on The Shot
“Coach drew the play up for me. He had enough trust in me to put the ball in my hands with 3 seconds on the shot clock. He said if they play off you, just let it fly.”
: @voga @AuburnMBB wins at UGA, 78-75 pic.twitter.com/Zlq3s8nPzz
“Just let it fly.” That’s the kind of marching order we need from Bruce Pearl as far as Chuma’s skill set goes. He’s got all the tools, and we just need him to unleash himself on the rest of the schedule.
Auburn’s offense posted 50 points in the first half, and looked like they were going to continue that sort of offense after a 7-5 run to start the second period, but then they went cold. Georgia caught up, and took the lead before we saw things tied up at 67 late. Auburn controlled it from there, even after the Bulldogs tied it up again at 75.
One big part of last night’s weird offense was that Bryce Brown did nothing. He only hit 1-9 threes, but we got the big performance from Jared Harper.
UGA shot 53% from the field, 43% from 3, hit 3 more FTs, and narrowly outrebounded Auburn, too, while Brown was scoring 9 points on 12 shots, 1-of-9 from 3.— Jerry Hinnen (@JerryHinnen) February 28, 2019
Auburn won anyway b/c Jared Harper--22 points on 15 shots, 1 damn turnover in 38 minutes--remains a complete badass. pic.twitter.com/YW3JpEJNGq
And we saw the growth of Bryce Brown through his play staying stellar on the defensive end despite the bad game offensively.
Something I did really like about those final 10 minutes last night was Brown's defensive effort after an off night shooting. Sometimes he lets his offensive struggles affect him on defense but he instead amped things up to close game out. Was huge late in the game— AUNerd (@AUSportsNerd) February 28, 2019
Now, Georgia was 1-13. Let’s not make too huge of a deal out of it, but this was a necessary road win. We needed it to help cement a Tournament bid. With the win, Auburn’s guaranteed a first-day bye in Nashville at the SEC Tournament, but there are still a bunch of possibilities as we hit the final three games of the conference season.
Looking at SEC Tournament seeding: oh boy. it's tight. South Carolina, Miss St, Ole Miss, and Florida are all 9-6. Auburn and Alabama are 8-7. I believe each of these teams is technically still eligible for the 4th seed double bye pic.twitter.com/S0VIhWhmAa— joshdub (@joshdub_) February 28, 2019
With a game against Mississippi State, that’s huge for Auburn. We could tie them up in the standings this weekend with a win. It’s also big that we play Alabama, who’s got an identical record to ours. Auburn can still get a top-four seed, though. It’s just extremely unlikely.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is the most likely scenario for Auburn to clinch the 4th seed double bye:— joshdub (@joshdub_) February 28, 2019
Auburn goes 3-0
SC loses to Mizzou and A&M
Ole Miss loses to UK and Arky
UK beats UF
Kenpom gives this a 2.12% chance of happening
South Carolina’s got a really easy schedule down the stretch, while the other things on that list above aren’t out of the question individually, but they may not happen altogether.
Let’s move past this, beat Mississippi State this weekend, and reassess from there. Each game coming up is going to be bigger than the last. War Eagle!