On Saturday afternoon, the Georgia Bulldogs dropped their 3rd consecutive decision in a 74-67 loss to Auburn, but on the “bright” side, it wasn’t quite as ugly as their last defeat to Vanderbilt.
Georgia shot an improved 42% from the field and 37.5% from 3-point range (6-for-16) in attempting to keep up with the Tigers on the road, but the Dawgs simply couldn’t hold serve defensively without fouling, and that was a major detriment in the loss. Auburn was able to get to the line a staggering 34 times (converting 27 of them), and when you add that in with 7 threes and quality ball security, it’s easy to see why the Dawgs struggled.
It was encouraging to see Mark Fox “pulling out all the stops” in this one, though, and that began from the opening tip. Freshman forward Houston Kessler grabbed the first start of his career, and he rewarded Fox early with a three-pointer to give UGA an early lead. Along with Kessler, the Bulldogs deployed eleven different players in the first 10 minutes of the game (13 overall!), but even in the case of Kessler, the success was short-lived and he played only 3 total minutes in the game.
Kenny Gaines returned to the lineup for UGA here, but it was a rough game for the big-time guard, as he shot just 2-for-10 for 9 points and committed 3 turnovers with 0 assists. If there was a lone bright spot from an individual standpoint, it was certainly Charles Mann, and Gaines’ backcourt mate scored a team-high 18 points on just 10 field goal attempts. Still, it wasn’t nearly enough, and despite Mark Fox’s aggressive overtures concerning the officiating in the final minutes, this game certainly wasn’t lost due to anything but the shortcomings of his team.
With the defeat, the Dawgs slip back to .500 on the season, both overall (10-10) and in SEC play (4-4). Georgia will have an opportunity to right the ship with a home game against LSU on Thursday, but optimism is lacking in Athens right now.