February 27, 2019 - Athens, Georgia
When we look back at Auburn’s Final Four run, we have to remember that THIS is the game where it all finally clicked and the run to Minneapolis began.
Auburn had come into this game falling by 27 points to Kentucky in Lexington and were 7-7 in the SEC and some people were saying that this team “didn’t deserve to be in the tournament.”
As crazy as that sounded, one way to silence those critics was to put some wins together. But this one didn’t come easy, (what does for Auburn?). Auburn played this game down 2 guys as Auburn were without both Austin Wiley and Malik Dunbar due to injury.
Chuma Okeke would get it started with a corner 3 on the first possession. Auburn’s first 5 3-pointers would come from 5 different players in the game’s first 8 minutes and started the game 6-10 from 3 as Auburn was on pace to score 100 after the game’s first 10 minutes.
The Tigers would do most of their damage in the paint during the second 10 minutes as they cooled off from distance after a hot start. Jared Harper scored 16 in the 1st half as Auburn would lead by as much as 14 in the first half and lead 50-40 at halftime.
Jared’s 4th 3 of the game would put Auburn ahead 57-45 with 17:22 left but then the Tigers went cold and Georgia came storming back with a 13-0 run to take the lead with 11 minutes left. The next 6 minutes would see the lead change hands several times before Auburn went on a 6-0 run thanks to Horace Spencer’s presence on the offensive glass cleaning up a pair of misses and a layup from Samir Doughty gave Auburn a 73-67 lead with 4:39 left.
Georgia would cut it down to 1 before a tough jump shot that hit every part of the rim would fall for Bryce Brown to make it 75-72 Tigers with 1:15 to go. Georgia would hit a 3 on the other end to tie it.
The Tigers would come down and the possession wasn’t great as Georgia blocked 2 shots on the possession. With 27.1 seconds left and 3 on the shot clock, Bruce Pearl called timeout.
What happened next would be start of an incredible 5 1⁄2 weeks for Auburn Basketball.
I call this the biggest shot in Auburn Basketball history.
Ballgame. Auburn wins 78-75. Chuma Okeke hits a go-ahead 3-pointer with 22 seconds left. Auburn has now beaten Georgia back-to-back years in Athens for the first time since 1979-80. pic.twitter.com/vpWZ1EhRPk— Nathan King (@byNathanKing) February 28, 2019
There’s been a lot of great moments for Auburn on this run. This however got it all started and this, is the Play of the Year for Auburn. pic.twitter.com/PY3FGq8Egx— Jaylin Williams/Simpson Fan Account (@ShootyHoopsWill) April 1, 2019
Okeke’s 3 would put Auburn in front and then the defense on the other end would not allow Georgia to get a decent look in the final seconds and the Tigers came out of Athens with a 3-point victory.
The win also meant that Auburn had swept Georgia in back to back seasons.
40 years since Auburn has beaten Georgia 4 straight times. Swept Georgia in back to back years! Hadn’t swept them since 85-86 before last year.— Jaylin Williams/Simpson Fan Account (@ShootyHoopsWill) February 28, 2019
In his final game against his home state school, Jared Harper led the way with 22 points and 5 assists. He was 5-10 from 3 as well. Likewise, Chuma Okeke had 13 points and 6 rebounds against his home state team. Horace Spencer had 10 points and 5 rebounds.
Maybe that, maybe that, will get them going??!!??— Jaylin Williams/Simpson Fan Account (@ShootyHoopsWill) February 28, 2019
If this writer only knew how “that” would get this team going indeed.
Here are the highlights!