Georgia (10-10; 4-4) followed up a frustrating loss to Vanderbilt earlier this week with another equally disappointing performance at Auburn this afternoon.
The Dawgs dug themselves into a hole early in this game with poor shooting and bad ball security. UGA hit only 36% from the floor and committed 10 turnovers before the break, which allowed the Tigers to take a 33-25 advantage into the half.
Coach Mark Fox’s team never really managed to figure out how to attack Auburn’s zone defense, causing the Tiger lead to seem almost insurmountable. Sadly, this Auburn team came into today’s game with a 1-6 conference record, making Georgia’s ineffectiveness on offense even more upsetting.
The Dawgs trailed by 8 points or more for much of the second half. Georgia did cut the Auburn lead to 59-57 after a J.J. Frazier three-pointer with 5:43 remaining, but the Tigers responded with a 7-1 run that pushed the score back out to 66-58 with 3:50 left following an old-fashioned three-point play by Allen Payne.
The Bulldogs were unable to recover the lead that they had relinquished in the game’s first two minutes, and Auburn notched its second SEC win of the year with a 74-67 home win.
All five starters for the Tigers finished in double-figures with Chris Denson leading the way with a game-high 18 points.
Georgia was carried by Charles Mann’s 18 points.
After missing two games, sophomore Kenny Gaines returned to the starting lineup for UGA. Instead of providing Georgia with a much-needed offensive spark, the sophomore scored only 9 points on an abysmal 2 of 10 shooting performance.
While the Dawgs ended up hitting 42% of their field goals in this contest, Georgia’s shooting woes are starting to catch up to them. UGA entered today’s game with the lowest team field goal percentage in SEC contests this season, and Georgia’s inability to shoot the ball well again today made Auburn’s zone appear even more daunting.
On the other side of the ball, UGA continues to yield way too many three-pointers. Georgia came into this game ranked second to last in three-point percentage defense in conference games, allowing opposing teams to hit nearly 39% of their attempts from beyond the arc. Today, Georgia’s perimeter defense failed them yet again, permitting Auburn – an average three-point shooting team at best – to bury 7 of 16 attempts (almost 44%).
After a 2-0 start to conference play, the Dawgs have dropped 4 of their past 6 games, and they are currently in the midst of a three-game losing streak.
Georgia had better find some sort of a zone offense between now and Thursday, or next week could prove to be another difficult one for this program.