Auburn men's basketball v Georgia on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022 in Auburn, Ala. Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics
Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

Georgia basketball falls to No. 2-ranked Auburn on the Plains, 83-60

Georgia basketball could not hang with No. 2-ranked Auburn Wednesday night in a 83-60 loss at Auburn Arena in Auburn, Ala.

Points were few and far between for the Bulldogs in the first half (5-13, 0-5 SEC) that shot 21 of 50 on the night. The Tigers (17-1, 6-0) scored at will from all over the floor and still sit atop the SEC.

“We had a couple of costly turnovers and they capitalized,” UGA coach Tom Crean said. “They do a really job of capitalizing and they took a lot of threes, but they shot a really good percentage inside the paint and those are the issues that we’ve just got to continue to work through.”

Christian Wright led the Bulldogs with 16 points, 4 rebounds and an assist. Auburn big Walker Kessler scored 15 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, and added 6 blocks.

Both teams struggled to score early before a 59-second 6-0 Auburn run put it ahead 14-7 at the 12:31 mark. It was all Tigers from there until halftime.

A Dylan Cardwell putback slam at the 2:59 mark capped a 16-2 run that gave Auburn a 48-22 lead.

The Tigers went into the locker rooms leading 52-27.

Georgia, still searching for its first conference win, made a small dent in the Auburn lead to the tune of an 18-9 second half run that finished at the 12:14 mark. UGA actually won the second half 33-31, but the Bulldogs never seriously threatened the Tigers in the second half.

Crean was also without top-scoring guard Kario Oquendo in the loss, sidelined with a lower body injury. Oquendo, averaging 13.4 points per game this season, is being evaluated on a day-to-day basis.

Georgia won its last meeting against Auburn last season in a 91-86 barnburner. Between transfers and preseason injuries, UGA missed the players who scored 80 of its 91 points in last season’s win Wednesday night.

Former Bulldog K.D. Johnson, who averaged 13.5 points for Georgia a season ago, scored 12 points in the 2021 win against Auburn. Now playing for the Tigers, Johnson scored another 12 against his former team tonight.

The Bulldogs are back on the road Saturday for a date with South Carolina at Colonial Life Arena at 3:30 p.m.

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