It wasn’t hard tonight, and the best team in the SEC beat the worst team in the SEC 83-60 tonight at Auburn Arena. The Tigers are 6-0 in the SEC for the first time in more than 60 years, and set up a gigantic matchup at home against Kentucky this coming Saturday by moving to 17-1 overall.
With the line right before the game sitting at Auburn -22, the Tigers figured that they’d cover in one half of play, and with K.D. Johnson playing against his former team, you knew that the atmosphere would be electric. The Tigers played an extremely clean game in some categories, with only a handful of turnovers, and a dominant night on the boards. With 9 players scoring, and utilizing the huge size advantage that Auburn had on the interior, Walker Kessler had a huge night blocking shots and leading the defense.
The first half started slow as Auburn seemed to want to play with its food before eating it. with Georgia taking a 4-2 lead after the first couple of minutes. Allen Flanigan hit a pair of threes, with his second giving the Tigers a lead they’d never relinquish. After Flan’s second bucket, Auburn went on a run to widen the gap and build a 14-7 lead thanks to consecutive scores from Wendell Green, Jr. After a three from Jaylin Williams, Auburn led 19-9 at the under-12 timeout.
Georgia cut the advantage to five at 19-14, but that’s when Auburn turned on the jets. Zep Jasper and K.D. Johnson combined for three threes over the next few minutes, and the Tigers’ lead ballooned to 32-19. K.D. Johnson’s third three-pointer moments later gave the Tigers a 37-20 edge, and then two more baskets by Green doubled the score at 44-22. Dylan Cardwell followed those scores with consecutive dunks, and two Allen Flanigan free throws gave Auburn an even 50 points at the end of the half. Walker Kessler appeared to hit a runner as time expired, but the referees decided that he hadn’t gotten the shot off, and Auburn led only 50-27 at halftime.
OR SO WE THOUGHT. After deliberation during halftime, the bucket was given to Walker Kessler so the Tigers led 52-27 at the break, but nobody knew that until the second half began. Kessler affected things from the start out of the intermission, blocking multiple shots to begin the period, and giving the Arena a thrill with a steal and fastbreak dunk on his own to give the Tigers a 57-30 edge at the 17:00 mark.
Auburn gave up some ground over the next few minutes with the bench bunch taking extensive minutes, and the lead was cut to 20 points at 61-41 near the 13-minute mark. Georgia then continued to work into the deficit and pulled within 16 before Wendell Green hit a three to break the momentum, and then the Tigers forced a turnover to send the game into the under-12 timeout of the second half leading 64-45. Jabari Smith followed the timeout with a three of his own, and the lead grew back to 22 points.
K.D. Johnson continued his warpath against his former team, with a second-chance bucket leading the game under 8 minutes with a 72-51 lead for Auburn, and after a sequence of sloppy play, Green lobbed a pass to Devan Cambridge for a vicious dunk, and the Tigers led 74-53 at the under-8 timeout. A Jabari Smith three as the clock melted below 4 minutes gave the Tigers an 81-57 lead, and then a 4-on-1 fastbreak led to a Flanigan dunk immediately after. Auburn cruised from there, and finished up an incredibly easy 83-60 victory.
You know what it is. The biggest game of the year comes up this Saturday with Kentucky visiting Auburn Arena. It’ll cost you at least $489 to see this one in person, with a high noon CST tip-off. Kentucky will enter after coming from behind to beat previously-perfect Texas A&M in College Station.