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Georgia at Auburn Game Preview and Open Thread

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Sweet Home Auburn

NCAA Basketball: Auburn at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday February 2, 2021

Georgia Bulldogs at Auburn Tigers

Auburn Arena

Time: 6PM

Network: SEC Network, Auburn Radio Network

After playing 6 of their 9 January games on the road, it’s about time Auburn (10-8, 4-5) spent a little time at home. They’ll play both of their games at home this week, starting with tonight’s contest against Georgia (10-6, 3-6).

The Tigers held their own in the first half against Baylor but the Bears had a 5-10 minute stretch in the 2nd half that showed why they’re the 2nd ranked team in the country. Baylor led by as much as 21 but Auburn battled to the end, covering the spread in the process.

As for tonight, this will be Auburn’s 2nd time seeing the Dawgs. Auburn beat Georgia 95-77 in Athens back on January 13th and it was first win since Sharife Cooper had been cleared to play. Cooper was a magician that night going for 28 points, 12 assists and 5 rebounds. The win was the start of a 4-1 run through SEC play before Saturday’s setback at Baylor. Auburn scored 95 on a night where they went just 5-20 from 3.

Auburn blocked 14 shots in that game with both Jaylin Williams and Devan Cambridge blocking 5 shots apiece. Cambridge also added 14 points off the bench with Williams, J.T. Thor and Allen Flanigan adding 11 points each.

As for Georgia, it was the collegiate debut for KD Johnson who led Georgia with 21 points and 7 rebounds. Sahvir Wheeler had 19 points as well.

Let’s Get Reacquainted with Georgia

Since we last saw Georgia, the Bulldogs have gone 3-2 including a thrilling win over Kentucky and swept Ole Miss. They lost at home to Florida and then by 24 at South Carolina last Wednesday, one game after the Gamecocks gave up 109 points to Auburn.

So truthfully, it’s hard to say which Georgia team will show up tonight. There’s some rumblings about Tom Crean’s future starting to go around, although I don’t expect anything to happen after this year.

Here are the key players for Georgia and their season stats coming into tonight’s game:

Sophomore Guard Sahvir Wheeler (#2) - 13.5 PPG, 7.4 APG

Freshmen Guard K.D. Johnson (#0) - 13.3 PPG, 44.4% 3-point shooter

Sophomore Forward Toumani Camara (#10) - 12.5 PPG, 6.9 RPG

Grad Student Forward Andrew Garcia (#4) - 10.5 PPG

Junior Guard Tye Fagan (#14) - 9.9 PPG

Grad Student Guard Justin Kier (#5) - 9.9 PPG, 37.3% 3-point shooter

Grad Student Forward P.J. Horne (#24) - 8.7 PPG

Keys for Auburn

The first thing I’ll say here is that Auburn has to shoot the 3-ball better. If you take the South Carolina game out of the equation where Auburn was 14-27 from 3, Auburn is 37-140 from 3 (just 26.4%) in the other 6 games they’ve had Sharife Cooper on the floor. That’s... not good. Hopefully the return home will be the remedy for that as the Tigers could use a spark from 3.

Baylor did a really good job of keeping Sharife Cooper in check for the most part as they forced the ball out of his hands and others to try and make plays instead. He finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists but I look for a bounce back game from him this evening.

One of the bright spots from the Baylor game was the play of Jaylin Williams who had 17 points and 8 rebounds. It seems like the first shot is a pretty good indicator of the kind of game Jaylin is going to have. He made his first shot against Baylor, a 3, and that seemed to get him going. Jaylin made 3 of Auburn’s 6 3-pointers on Saturday as well. Consistency has been the biggest thing with him this year and hopefully we will see more of we saw on Saturday going forward.

The move to the bench by Devan Cambridge has been a profitable one for Auburn. Before Sharife Cooper’s first game on January 9th, Devan had posted only 3 games in double figures on the season. With Cooper’s arrival, Devan was the one to step aside to let Sharife start and since then, he has scored at least 10 in 5 of Auburn’s 7 games. He is up to 33.3% from 3-point range on the season and he’s been scoring inside as well as just 7 of his 26 baskets over the last 7 games have been 3s.

Prediction

This is a huge opportunity for Auburn over the next couple of weeks. After tonight, they play Ole Miss, at Vanderbilt and at Kentucky. Auburn would be well served to go at least 3-1 over the next 2 weeks. But to get to 3-1, you have to start 1-0 tonight. I think Auburn benefitted greatly from the experience of playing at Baylor and with the Georgia connections on this roster, I think Auburn bounces back tonight and gets back into the win column.

Auburn 82 Georgia 74