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Tip-Off Countdown: #65 (17) Auburn 79 Georgia 65

The day Mustapha Heron blew the roof off of Auburn Arena!

NCAA Basketball: Georgia at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

January 20, 2018 - Auburn Arena

Remember the Jam heard around the SEC? Okay, I just made that up but this was quite a moment in a magical season.

Auburn came into this game after a tough loss to Alabama in Tuscaloosa 3 days earlier. It didn’t take away the level of excitement and student body interest going into this game.

Coach Pearl came out and went through the line and thanked all of the students for showing out in full force. I would have to guess there were a large number of students who ended up being turned away because the Jungle filled up so quickly.

Meanwhile, it was a big weekend for the Auburn program as the school welcomed new Athletic Director Allen Greene the day before this game. Here he is before the game introducing himself to the Jungle:

As for the 1st half of this game....... yikes.

In a disturbing trend, the Tigers fell behind double digits once again and struggled mightily on the offensive side of the ball. Auburn shot 7-28 overall in the 1st half (25%) and the lone bright spot was 10 points and 5 rebounds from Anfernee McLemore. The trio of Bryce Brown, Jared Harper and Mustapha Heron had 1 bucket in the half and a total of 7 points. Georgia led 40-26 at halftime.

A lot of people on social media started to think maybe this start was a fluke and reality was about to set in. But as we have learned the past couple of years, you can never ever count this team out.

Mustapha Heron came out of the locker room scoreless and with 2 fouls to his name. He made a 3 on the first play of the half and it seemed to get him going after struggling over the previous game and a half.

2 possessions later, Bryce Brown hits an acrobatic shot clocking beating 3 to cut the deficit to 8. 2 possessions later, Jared Harper gets involved with a 3 of his own. Here comes Auburn.

Bryce would knock down another 3 and a Heron fast break layup would bring Auburn to with a point at 42-41.

With a little under 14 minutes left, Mustapha Heron would get a steal and the possession would go down as one that would blow the roof off of Auburn Arena. Heron would get the ball in the corner, drive the baseline and.....

And with that, Auburn Arena came unglued. And just like that, Georgia’s 14 point halftime lead was gone.

Oh by the way, he would convert the 3-point play by making the free throw following the dunk. After Georgia tied the game at the charity stripe, Bryce Brown would hit another 3 to put Auburn back in front.

Buckets from Horace Spencer and a circus layup from Jared Harper would send Auburn Arena back into a frenzy as the Tigers took a 51-44 lead forcing a Georgia timeout. Auburn would keep going with Brown hitting another 3 and converting a 3-point play to give Auburn a 57-44 lead with 8:15 to go. Keep in mind Georgia had 40 at halftime.

Georgia finally made their first field goal of the second half with 6:41 to go. Auburn held them in the first 13:19 to 5 points, all from the free throw line and forced 8 turnovers. The defense along with the offense turned it up several notches in the 2nd half.

Georgia made a push and cut Auburn’s 14 point lead down to 5 with 3:30 to go. A 3-point play from Malik Dunbar put Auburn back up 8. Moments later, a Heron bucket and then a steal and easy lay-in from Bryce Brown would “turn the lights out” on Georgia.

While Brown had just 3 at halftime, he scored 25 in the 2nd half on his way to a 28 point performance to lead Auburn. He was 8-9 from the field, 4-5 from 3, and 5-6 from the free throw line.

Most remember Heron’s dunk as the highlight of this game, and rightfully so, but Bryce Brown had one of his best halves as a Tiger in this game too.

Heron had 14 points, all in the 2nd half. Jared Harper had 13 points and 6 assists and Anfernee McLemore finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds.

Auburn outscored Georgia 53-25 in the 2nd half and the win moved Auburn’s record to 17-2 and 5-1 in the SEC.

Here are the highlights!