Georgia may have threatened early, but Auburn showed its most complete effort of the year and provided some evidence to back up the top-five ranking in an 82-60 obliteration of the Bulldogs.
- ✊#WarEagle pic.twitter.com/5Brb4x7UGK— Auburn Basketball (@AuburnMBB) January 11, 2020
In an all-around effort, the Tigers got production from nearly the entire team on both ends of the floor and shut down Georgia star Anthony Edwards until garbage time. Samir Doughty’s 17 points got the headline as a breakout game after a small slump, but Allen Flanigan’s 12 points may have been the most impressive stat of the day. It was his best game in an Auburn uniform by far. Anfernee McLemore also had a huge day with 12 points, seemingly hitting buckets when Auburn needed them the most.
The first half started like it has almost all year — with Auburn slow to get the offense moving. Georgia jumped out to a 14-6 lead at the 12:43 mark, but it was Rayshaun Hammonds doing most of the work as Auburn made it a point to keep Edwards from dominating the game. Finally, the Tigers woke up after McLemore willed his way to the basket for a dunk, immediately followed by a Danjel Purifoy three and a Flanigan jumper. Within the span of 75 seconds, Auburn cut the 14-6 deficit down to just one point.
Finally, with 8:20 to play in the half, the Tigers took the lead on a Doughty layup, and then two Austin Wiley free throws moments later gave them the advantage that they’d never relinquish. Jamal Johnson and Flanigan buried threes to put Auburn up 26-20, and the rout was building. Auburn grew that lead to 35-20 in the final minute of the half, but Georgia closed to 35-24 at the break. To this point in the game, Anthony Edwards had been held to just 3 points on 1-5 shooting, and he was having trouble converting simple free throws.
Out of halftime, the Tigers didn’t stop, taking back a 15-point lead in the first 90 seconds of the second half. With 14:29 to go, Hammonds buried a three to pull Georgia within a 48-32 deficit, but that was as close as it would get the rest of the way. Two minutes after that, Samir Doughty boosted Auburn’s lead to 21 on a pair of free throws, and the final ten minutes of the game were celebration at Auburn Arena as McLemore, Isaac Okoro, and Purifoy threw down highlight dunks one after the other. Bruce Pearl was able to empty the bench with a few minutes left, and Jaylin Williams’ jumper to put Auburn up 80-54 gave the Tigers their largest lead of the game to that point before they cruised to the 82-60 win.
Overall, Auburn shot 53% for the game and went 9-24 from three. The only real downside on the stat line comes from the foul line, where they hit just 7-15 free throws. Other than that, Auburn outrebounded Georgia 41-33, dominated the bench points 34-13, controlled the paint 44-24, and had 15 points off of turnovers compared to just 4 for Georgia. Auburn had eight players score 6+ points in this game, and seemed to be deeper than Georgia, who lost total rhythm once Hammonds hit the bench with foul trouble.
It was likely the best game that Auburn’s played thus far, since Georgia was really peaking at this point after the Memphis win and close loss to Kentucky. With the way that Edwards had been playing, it was an unreal defensive effort to hold him to 5 points before the final 10 minutes when the game was out of reach. Bruce Pearl threw Okoro, Purifoy, Flanigan, and Devan Cambridge at him, and they all stymied him throughout the first three-quarters of the game. Auburn’s team — AND FANS — were in his head all game long. He started 1-8 from the foul line, and the Jungle shouting “Overrated” at him may have gotten to him.
Anthony Edwards just mouthed after falling to 1-of-8 from the line: “I don’t know why I can’t make this shit, man.”— Benjamin Wolk (@benjaminwolk) January 11, 2020
Auburn HC Bruce Pearl on the plan to slow down Georgia SG Anthony Edwards: "The easiest answer is Isaac Okoro."— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) January 11, 2020
After the game....@__Austinwiley50 & @AuburnMBB teammates thanks @AUJungle for showing up early (11 a.m. tip) & being loud.— Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) January 11, 2020
Austin: 8 points, 7 rebs.
Danjel Purifoy (8 rebs.) helped AU outrebound UGA 41-33 in 82-60 win. pic.twitter.com/1nrwJsMVZB
With the impending weather and moving the game time up six hours, the students and fans came out and showed out. All throughout the broadcast, Jimmy Dykes kept saying that Auburn has the best student section in America right now thanks to what Bruce Pearl has built. After today, it’s hard to disagree.
Now, the TIgers are 15-0 and 3-0 in the SEC after a very solid first week. However, it’s going to get tough. The next two games are Auburn’s biggest chance for that first loss, since they head to Tuscaloosa on Wednesday night for an 8 pm CST tipoff before going to Gainesville a week from today for a CBS 12:30 pm CST start. Alabama had been playing extremely well, losing a close overtime battle to Florida before rocking Mississippi State in the midweek. Today, they fell 76-67 to Kentucky to drop to 1-2 in the SEC. Make no mistake, they’re one of the best three-point shooting teams in the conference, and they’ll be very dangerous in that nasty old tetanus airplane hangar they play hoops in. War Eagle!