Georgia survived yet again.
But as the Bulldogs put together a late-season bid for an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament, what matters most are wins. And once again, in dramatic fashion, the Bulldogs came away with another against a pesky Auburn squad 79-78.
Up one with seconds ticking down, Georgia guard J.J. Frazier thought he had forward Derek Ogbeide underneath for an easy bucket. Ogbeide wasn’t expecting it, however, and the ball was picked off. Auburn drove up the court and called a timeout with 7.5 seconds left to play in the game. Georgia then called one of its own after seeing what set Auburn came onto the court in.
Georgia then saw Auburn guard Jared Harper attempt a long 3-pointer on an otherwise hot shooting night for the Tigers. This time, the ball clanked off the rim long with Georgia securing it for the win.
While Frazier’s errant pass was nearly costly, it was a minor flaw in an otherwise brilliant performance. Frazier poured in 31 points on 9-of-19 shooting in 38 minutes. His biggest play may have come with 1:13 left to play. After Auburn center Austin Wiley missed a wide-open dunk on an alley-oop, Frazier skied higher in the air than anyone around him to corral the rebound.
He then made two free throws to give Georgia a 79-73 lead at the time. Of course, the Tigers (17-13, 6-11 SEC) made things quite interesting in the final 1:13. Danjel Purifoy scored five consecutive points on a 3-pointer and trip to the free-throw line.
In the end, however, Georgia would come away victorious with one game left against Arkansas to go in its regular season.
Georgia (18-12, 9-8) didn’t hold a lead until 12:43 left to play in the game. Tied up at 52-52, Frazier drove the lane and drew a foul. He made the ensuing two free throws to give Georgia a lead. From there, the Bulldogs didn’t relinquish its lead until 3:50 left to play in the game when Auburn took a 73-71 lead. Junior Juwan Parker quickly answered with a mid-range bucket to tie it up.
Georgia trailed Auburn 28-12 at the 7:45 mark of the first half, thanks to some early hot shooting from the Tigers. Georgia then got consecutive buckets from Frazier and forward Derek Ogbeide, before freshman Jordan Harris hit a 3-pointer.
For Harris, it was his first game action after missing the previous three due to a bone chip in an undisclosed location. It was also a surprise to see Harris as he was previously considered to be out indefinitely.
But this would set off a 12-0 run that brought Georgia to within four points with 2:32 to go in the opening half. Auburn ended Georgia’s run with a layup from T.J. Dunans, with the Tigers ultimately leading at the break 37-30.