Georgia basketball’s 94-73 loss at No. 25 Auburn shows vast workload still ahead

Georgia head coach Mike White during Georgia’s game against South Carolina at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Jan 28, 2023. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

ATHENS – A forgettable loss to one of the SEC’s premier programs showed Georgia basketball has plenty more ground to cover before joining the upper tiers of the conference.

The Bulldogs (14-8, 4-5 SEC) were dominated all over the court by a No. 25-ranked Auburn team that was not going to lose in front of its home crowd on Wednesday.

The Tiger (17-5, 7-2) attack was sharp and fast from the tipoff, mounting a 17-0 first half run to gain a comfortable lead it never surrendered.

A strong second half from Mardrez McBride kickstarted Georgia’s attack, but the deficit was too large to overcome in a 94-73 loss.

“I thought him and Jailyn Ingram, because of some ball movement and some extra (passes), stepped up and converted with some confidence down the stretch,” UGA coach Mike White said. “I thought Mardrez has done a really great job defensively, too.”

McBride finished with a season-high 20 points and 3 assists, sinking 6 of 9 shots from 3-point range. The North Texas transfer set his previous season high just four days ago with 17 points on five 3-pointers against South Carolina.

UGA is back on the road against another top SEC team in Texas A&M (15-7, 7-2) at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas.

The two teams split the season series, as UGA upset Auburn 76-64 to open its SEC slate four weeks ago. Wednesday proved that when a talent-stacked SEC roster like Auburn’s maximizes its potential, the Bulldogs could not keep up.

The same offensive stars that Georgia locked down to pin the Auburn offense in Game One could not be slowed on Wednesday.

Wendell Green Jr. and Allen Flanigan, who combined for just 18 points in Athens, totaled for 40 in the win in Auburn.

UGA is far from an SEC bottom-feeder, as its 4-5 record ties it with Arkansas for the No. 8 position in the conference standings. Georgia entered Auburn as just a 7.5-point underdog, showing the respect it has earned in the conference this season.

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The Bulldogs have also solidified themselves above the SEC’s bottom four with wins over Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and South Carolina.

How Georgia plays against other middle-of-the-pack teams like Missouri, Florida, and the Razorbacks will go a long way in defining the legacy of White’s first season in Athens.

Wins over bottom-feeders like South Carolina, Ole Miss and LSU seem paramount to protecting that reputation, as well.

The Bulldogs held their own with the Tigers through the first 10 minutes before the long scoring run. UGA trailed just 16-14 before falling cold, shooting 0 for 4 with 5 turnovers during the run.

Georgia entered halftime down 42-24.

McBride led the Bulldogs in the first half with 6 points, shooting 2 of 2 from 3-point range.

Jusaun Holt put forward another impressive performance in his second straight start. The Alabama transfer scored a season-high 9 points, 3 rebounds, and an assist.

Georgia basketball vs. Auburn Box Score
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