ATHENS — Auburn basketball came into Stegeman Coliseum and ran Georgia off its home court.

The Bulldogs’ fans don’t want to hear that, but there’s no nice way to say it when games play out in this fashion.

The No. 14-ranked Tigers (21-6, 10-4) handed the Bulldogs (15-12, 5-9) their most lopsided loss of the season, 97-76.

Auburn jumped out to a quick lead and was up 25-15 when UGA freshman Blue Cain sacrificed his body on a Tigers’ breakaway, resulting in him suffering a gash to his face.

Cain returned with seven stitches less than six minutes later, but all the toughness and effort he and his teammates could muster was not enough.

The Georgia band was playing, but it seemed the 2,000 or so in the sellout crowd who were Tigers’ fans were doing all the singing down the stretch.

“Glory, glory Auburn Tigers … A-U-B-U-R-N,” they sang, drowning out what UGA fans remained in the arena.

The temperature in the building dropped noticeably in the final minutes, Georgia fans streaming out of the building having seen enough, the lower deck more than half empty by game’s end.

This, after the Bulldogs had battled to stay within 64-61 with 9:29 left, giving those same fans hope for an upset.

Instead Auburn heated up, draining 12 of its final 16 shots from the floor, looking very much like a No. 14-ranked team that was fresh from a week off.

The Tigers used an 11-0 run to break away, former UGA player K.D. Johnson hitting some shots for Auburn and playfully engaging Georgia fans who had booed each time he touched the ball and jeered him on earlier misses.

Bulldogs’ freshman Silas Demary Jr. — who looked to be Johnson’s match individually with 16 points and two assists — said the game just got away.

“We didn’t get enough stops, that’s the name of the game,” Demary Jr. said. “They hit a big three and they kept going, we have to be better on the defensive side.”

Georgia, to its credit, stay poised on the floor even as the Auburn fans took over the arena.

“The message of the week has been have poise, stay in the moment, don’t get too hyped,” Demary Jr. said.

“You can’t get caught up int he crowd, you just have to stay within the game.”

It’s easier said than done this season.

There’s simply no mercy to be had in the SEC.

Outside of Vanderbilt, which Georgia beat on the road earlier this week, the league is strong.

“It’s been an incredible five weeks, seems like every game we’ve played an NCAA tournament team,” said White, whose team has lost seven of the past eight games — six of those coming to projected NCAA tournament teams.

As for the Auburn crowd taking over, White — a former SEC player himself — said there’s a simple solution.

“If that bothers our guys, we should play better,” White said. “The Auburn fans had reason to cheer.

“I think Auburn would have beaten a lot of teams tonight.”

White said that Georgia, meanwhile, “have had times we’ve played well, and times we just haven’t finished.”

Auburn’s transition offense (17-3 fast-break points) and ball movement (16-5 assists advantage) were simply too much for Georgia to overcome.

White stared at the stat sheet and noted: The Bulldogs were an impressive 25-of-31 shooting free throws (80.6 percent) and an adequate 24-of-55 (43.6 percent) shooting from the floor.

The Tigers were just better (36-58, 62.1 percent) and especially shooting the 3 (14-26, 53.8 percent).

It’s no wonder White said he was “fried” after getting grilled in the postgame — no amount of basketball IQ or coaching savvy could account for the talent differential.

The fact is, Georgia basketball has gotten better this season, and as ugly as things turned on Saturday night, White insists his team will maintain focus.

“Have a great film session and practice tomorrow,” White said, asked the direction he goes after a difficult loss like this.

“We’re building, we’re better, we want results though.”