Observations: Auburn 74, Georgia 72
Another second-half slump had to be overcome by clutch play late. And, down a key player, the Tigers improved to a perfect 10-0 in the SEC.
A win is a win, especially on the road in the SEC. Bruce Pearl knows that as much as anyone — and he didn’t take the challenge from last-place Georgia lightly.
So, when Pearl overheard an SEC Network analyst say that Georgia deserved to beat his No. 1 Auburn team ahead of his postgame interview from a 74-72 win Saturday afternoon, he swiftly rejected that notion.
“They don't ask how,” Pearl said. “They ask how many. Ain't going to worry about how we played at Missouri or how we played at Georgia. We beat them. And I was reacting to the fact that I had my mic on, and I heard them say that Georgia should have won the game or deserved to win the game or should have won the game.
“No. We're here at Athens, and we played well to enough to win. We should have won the game. We did win the game.”
Auburn won its 19th straight game Saturday, moving to 22-1 overall and a perfect 10-0 in SEC play. Like the last time the Tigers went away from home, they had to edge their opponent in the final minute with clutch buckets.
And, like at Missouri, one of them came from K.D. Johnson. Playing at his old school for the first time — where the Georgia student section booed him virtually every time he touched the basketball — Johnson tied the game late with one of his trademark tough layups.
But the game-winner belonged to Wendell Green Jr., who excelled in the first half of a start in place of Zep Jasper.
Green then missed his first nine shots of a rough second half for Auburn, but he had the confidence in the final seconds to accelerate up the floor and break free with a spin move in the lane before the ball got knocked out of his hands. After recovering the ball, he laid the ball in to ultimately give Auburn the win with 3.3 seconds left.
Georgia’s ensuing chance at a game-winning miracle was nowhere close to going down, and Auburn survived. It wasn’t pretty for Johnson, Green, Pearl and Co. But it was enough to maintain a vital multi-game lead in the SEC title race.
“I wanted the team to play a lot better, but we came in here and got the W in a tough Georgia stadium,” said Johnson, who scored 20. “So I'm feeling OK about that.”
Here are five Observations, the Rotation Charts, the Nerd Stats and the Quote of the Day from Auburn’s 74-72 win at Georgia.