Auburn blows Georgia out in 2nd half to cruise to 79-65 win

Tucker native Bryce Brown lit up the Dawgs for 28 points.

Before we even talk about that second half, consider this chilling fact: Auburn has 3 starters that are from Georgia (12-6, 3-4).  Shooting guard Bryce Brown, who scored 28 points on 5 three-pointers, is from Tucker.  Georgia’s Juwan Parker, who was the recipient of much of Brown’s abuse, probably wishes that his coach had offered the Auburn junior.  Tigers’ point guard Jared Harper had 13 points, 6 assists and 2 steals; Anfernee McLemore had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks.  All of them are from the Peach State.

Here’s the box score:

Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 8.57.58 PMScreen Shot 2018-01-20 at 8.58.14 PM

At this point, it’s still hard to believe that the first half even happened.  After building up a 40-26 lead at the break, Georgia fell to pieces coming out for the final 20 minutes of play.  Auburn switched out of its man defense and into a 1-3-1 zone, and Georgia responded by standing around a lot on offense.  The Tigers came out of the intermission firing from the perimeter as they hit 4 of 5 from beyond the arc in the first 5 minutes, and all of a sudden the Georgia lead was just 42-39.  Auburn would knock down 6 three’s in the second half and 10 in the game.  After holding the Tigers, a team averaging 83 points a game in SEC play, to just 26 points in the first 20 minutes, it was surreal to watch Bruce Pearl’s team blow the doors off Georgia in such an incredibly dominant fashion.  Auburn shot 25% in the first half, but knocked down over 58% in the second, while Georgia went from 56% from the field prior to the break to just 25% from the floor after it. UGA didn’t convert its first field goal of the second half until there was only 6:45 left to play in the game. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a team dish out a 31-4 run to start a half; I hope I never have to see such a spectacle again.

Basically, the wheels starting coming off, came off and then rolled all the way to Toomer’s Corner before Mark Fox and Georgia recognized what was happening.  Fox let his team play through the Tiger onslaught all the way to the first media timeout of the second half, despite his team being the victim of a 10-0 run. Auburn would score 15 more points to Georgia’s 2 before Fox deemed it necessary to call a timeout to try to stymie the Tigers’ momentum.  By that point, UGA’s 14-point halftime advantage had turned into a 51-44 lead for Auburn. Yante Maten, the obvious person to get the ball to when things needed to settle, only had 2 shot attempts through the first 14 minutes of the second half.  Maten wasn’t without fault, however, as he gave the ball away 3 times during that same time span and ended up with 6 turnovers on the night. Georgia’s offense stopped moving and its passes got sloppy as the Dawgs committed 13 turnovers following the break (18 in the game).  Whatever Fox’s strategy was for calming his team in this raucous atmosphere, it didn’t take. Personally, I thought the team might have benefited from a timeout on several occasions early in the second half just to slow things down a bit.

Even when Georgia held the advantage in the first half, it didn’t feel sustainable. For starters, Juwan Parker, a career 20% three-point shooter, had 3 triples and 13 points before the intermission.  UGA never looked comfortable on offense against Auburn’s man pressure, and the Dawgs certainly weren’t attacking the rim – Georgia didn’t shoot a single free throw in the first half until Hammonds took a pair with 5:01 left once the Dawgs got into the bonus.  UGA hit 7 from the stripe during this final stretch before the half which helped them add to their lead.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but once again Georgia’s guard play was inadequate, and this definitely feels like it will be the recurring theme for the remainder of the season.  Auburn, much like LSU, South Carolina and Missouri, extended its man-to-man defense and pushed the Georgia guards well outside the perimeter.  UGA’s Turtle Jackson does not possess the ball-handling skills that are necessary to put a defender on his heels and create space – that’s just not his game.  Freshman Teshaun Hightower may become that player, but he’s not there yet.  Jackson’s scoring average has dipped below double digits to 9.8 ppg, leaving Maten as the only Bulldog averaging in double-figures.  Through the first 7 SEC games, Turtle is getting only 5.3 points a night.  Jackson is seeing a lot more defensive pressure, and that trend will only continue as the Dawgs progress through their SEC slate.

When Coach Fox signed 4-stars Jordan Harris and Tyree Crump two years ago, it seemed that he had found his backcourt replacements to handle the spot that J.J. Frazier would eventually vacate.  However, neither of those guys played a whole lot last year, which might have hampered their development.  Harris’s role on the team is convoluted at best as he’s a two-guard that doesn’t like to handle the ball and can’t shoot it that well.  If Harris were 6’7″ he’d be a perfect wing a la former UGA player Brandon Morris, but alas, Jordan is just 6’4″ and stuck with the misappropriated title of “shooting guard”. Tyree Crump came into he game and scored 5 points quickly – one on a beautiful spin move that he finished at the bucket and then another on a triple.  For whatever reason, though, the sophomore only logged 8 minutes tonight.  Even when UGA couldn’t buy a bucket in the second half, Crump, who might be the second-best scorer on the team, remained on the bench.  The knock on Crump is that he doesn’t defend well and turns the ball over too much.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t that describe nearly every Georgia guard?  I’d think Crump’s scoring prowess could at least negate some of those criticisms, especially on a team that has major issues on the offensive side of the ball.

The remainder of Georgia’s SEC schedule is daunting to say the least: two games with Florida, two with #21 Tennessee, another with #17 Auburn, one at Vandy (where UGA never wins), one at South Carolina and a home game against a Texas A&M team at the end of February when the Aggies should be at full-strength and in full NCAA Tournament form.  Mark Fox’s team will be extremely fortunate to finish this season with a .500 conference record.



17 thoughts on “Auburn blows Georgia out in 2nd half to cruise to 79-65 win

  1. You are so right, why doesn’t Fox give Crump the leadway he gives Turtle, Hightower and hammonds. Crump makes a mistake and put he goes never to be seen again. Or if they get down and it looks like all is lost fox says well maybe Tyree can bring us back. I really don’t understand why he doesn’t play more but hey he played eight minutes that is 4times as much as the last three games. Fox doesn’t know how to win the big games cause it is about his control and dominance of his players. When you stifle them like he does you can only hope the other team will be off their game.


  2. When Auburn switched to a zone, Fox was flummoxed. Rather than try to stop the Auburn run, he just let it happen without helping his players, which is what a coach is supposed to do. COACH.

    Instead he said “Well, if they’re going to switch defenses and start making those 3 point thingys, we’re lost. I’m going save my time outs for the next game.”

    It’s not his job to fire himself. Thats on McGarity.


  3. And when they are in zone defense why wouldn’t you have your 3 point shooters in—- like Crump. Fox just doesn’t know how to coach


  4. Once again, Fox was completely out coached. Pearl made adjustments, Fox did nothing. 32-4 runs are a coach’s fault, period. Looks like we are NIT-bound again!


  5. I know I am reiterating much of what Hoop said in his post, but what else could he (or I) say? I had an uneasy feeling at the Half that Auburn would try to make a big run once play resumed and that Fox would be too slow to adjust to the changes. After all, how often have we seen this pattern out of Fox’s teams? Two minutes in to the second half and I was screaming at him to call a TO and settle his charges down before their lead was gone. By five minutes in I knew the game was gone–I’ve simply seen this happen too many times before. As no one was playing much defense in the second half anyway, what he heck would have been so bad about having Crump in the game to provide some offensive spark? I am at a loss. How can a coach let his team simply collapse like this while doing little, if anything, to structure a constructive response to the onslaught? I’ve defended Fox often in the past but can no longer do so. We probably need to make a change if Georgia is ever to have a good basketball program–that is, one that is a fairly regular participant come Dance time. This team often looks like a rudderless ship although I am convinced that it is sufficiently talented to dance a couple steps with a partner that properly leads it.


  6. Most peach state players will not go to Georgia because, they have to run sets (no ands ifs or buts)
    You are not allowed to play uptempo basketball and if Fox doesn’t like you as a person and a player he will not play you even if it means loosing the game. To me that isn’t a real coach you do everything you can to win obviously he doesn’t like to win—- he needs to go


  7. I thought we went through a similar discussion last year with the finish in the A&M game????

    NOTHING surprises me anymore with a Fox coached team..


  8. Enough bout Crump defense. No one is playing defense. Hightower, Turtle and Harris are giving us nothing! Why not Crump? Crump 5 pts in 8 min, Turtle 4 in 32. Why not Crump 12 of those minutes? Harris and Hightower combined for 4 pts. It is obvious Fox dislike something about Crump. You have to give your team a chance to win. I’m not saying Crump is the savior but he can damn sure score the ball and damn it we need scoring! Turnovers and opponents scoring buckets are part of the game. Play Claxton more


  9. Ask Dictator Fox! Hell he’ll probably say matchup reasons. Read that Hammonds projects as a late 1st rd pick for 2019. Maybe that’s why Fox benched him. Smh, Dude trash(fox)!


  10. Hoops, why don’t we see more Claxton? Edwards would excel in a uptempo offense, So would Crump, Hightower, Harris, Hammonds, Claxton, Toe, Turtle, Yante, and OB. Get my drift. Why not run and press? This team has the athletes. Fox trying to keep gazelles in a 6×10 pen, unbelievable! Coaching for Dummies staring Dicator Fox!


  11. I was looking over the rankings and see that St. Mary’s is ranked 16 with only two losses. WTF? I think we win in spite of Fox.


  12. Maybe Saturday we can blow a 20 point plus lead. Been saying for years change needs to be made. This isn’t working Nine years in and where are we We all know the answer


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