There were no late-game heroics from Wendell Green Jr. this time at Stegeman, as the Auburn faithful in Athens and at home watched as the Bulldogs dismantled the Tigers 76-64. Mike White is now 7-3 against Bruce Pearl in the SEC and has his first signature win at Georgia.
While Auburn’s offensive problems have become regular, this was only the second time in 14 meetings the Tigers did not score 70 points when facing the Bulldogs.
Auburn started the game with stagnation on offense, hitting 3-of-16 shots in the first 10 minutes.
Down 21-10, the Tigers went on an 11-0 run as the tenacious defense crafted by Pearl and his staff locked in once again, tying the contest up as the first half winded to a close. But Georgia bounced back, securing a 37-30 lead going to the locker room, and the Bulldogs never relinquished it.
“They played well. They outplayed us. Their guards were really good. I think that Roberts makes a huge difference for them,” said Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl. “Our challenge has been we've got up against really good guards, elite guards. Memphis. USC.”
Terry Roberts was the leader of the Bulldog attack tonight with a team-leading 26 points while shooting 50% from the field. The entire Dawgs backcourt, including Kario Oquendo, was clicking on all cylinders, combining for 57 points.
Auburn’s top four guards managed just 16 points on a combined 5-of-23 from the field or just over 21%.
Johni Broome was the lone bright spot once again for the Tigers, as the transfer from Morehead State has truly become Auburn’s No. 1 option in recent weeks. Broome finished the game with 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting, along with 12 rebounds, one steal and one block.
“Johni had the double-double. But, you know, rather than 9-17, I think he should be 13-17. Look at the shots he missed. He had a couple,” Pearl said. “We won that battle at 5. So, Johni did another good job. Dylan did another good job defensively. But we needed to win more one-on-one battles.”
One area where Auburn expected to win the one-on-one battles was with Jaylin Williams, who has been one of the Tigers’ more reliable scorers in recent weeks. Williams was a non-factor in the offense tonight after missing his first four shots and finishing the night making just 1-of-9 from the field.
Without the consistency from Williams and much productivity from the backcourt, Auburn’s offense put up another sub-40% night, clocking in at 34.8% from the field and 21.4% from the three-point line. Auburn controlled the offensive glass with a 16-8 rebounding advantage and had 14 assists, but they could not overcome a night of poor shooting and will go back to the drawing board once again.
“He said we have to fix a lot of things. But everything is fixable,” said Auburn center Johni Broome on Pearl’s message to the team. “Let's get back to it and let's get the next one.”
Auburn’s break before the next one will be short-lived as the Tigers will return to Neville Arena for a big-time matchup with No. 13 Arkansas(11-2, 0-1 SEC). A pivotal SEC contest with tournament implications tips off from the Plains Saturday, January 7, at 7:30 p.m.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.