AUBURN, Ala.—For a while, it looked like Georgia’s men’s basketball team was heading to another defeat. The Bulldogs gave up 51 points in the first half, let host Auburn have its way from 3-point range, and found themselves trailing multiple times by double digits.
But J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten wouldn’t let the Bulldogs fall like they did in their final non-conference game to Oakland. The Bulldogs rode their two stars in the second half to turn a double digit deficit into a double digit lead.
And Georgia basketball picked up a win in its first conference game of the season, with a 96-84 win over Auburn. Georgia improved to 9-4 on the season, while Auburn dropped to 10-3
Georgia’s defense was a major problem in the first half, as it allowed the Tigers to start 6-of-8 from 3-point range. Coupled with Maten’s early foul trouble, the Bulldogs found themselves in a 51-43 hole at halftime.
But Georgia was able to get back into the game, thinks to freshman Jordan Harris. The Bulldogs used a 13-2 run to tie the game at 70 halfway through the second half. Harris had the best game of his Georgia career as he finished with 12 points.
Georgia then rode its horses, Maten and Frazier down the stretch. The two scored all but eight points on a key 12-0 run. That allowed UGA to take its first lead of the game before it extended it to double digits and put the game out of reach.
Frazier finished with 27, while Maten again broke the 30-point barrier as he finished with a season-high 31.
Player of the game: Jordan Harris
Maten and Frazier were great as usual but we’ll use this space to talk about the freshman. Many thought coming into the season that it would be Tyree Crump who had the freshman impact. But in the Bulldogs first SEC contest, Harris was the one who played a key role. He got the start, knocked down two 3-pointers and scored his 12 points on an insanely efficient 4 shots.
Stat line of the game: Free throws
The only reason Georgia was able to keep the game close in the first half was because of free throws. The Bulldogs attempted 21 first half free throws and finished the game knocking down 29 of their 38 attempts. Auburn attempted 27 free throws in the game.
Turning point: The 12-0 run
At one point in the second half the Bulldogs trailed 66-54. The game looked bleak. But the Bulldogs used a 16-4 run to tie the game at 70. And shortly after, the Bulldogs turned a 76-74 deficit into an 86-76 lead with 3:39 remaining. While Georgia didn’t lead for long on the night, it led when it mattered.
What’s next for Georgia basketball
The Georgia Bulldogs don’t resume action until 2017 as they take on South Carolina at home next Wednesday. UGA beat South Carolina all three times the two teams met last season. Both teams played Clemson in the non-conference portion of the schedule and both teams lost.
What Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox said:
Georgia basketball vs. Auburn basketball box score