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Tigers Lose Heartbreaker in Athens

Mustapha Heron had 13 points and 9 rebounds in Auburn's 79-78 loss to Georgia on Wednesday. (Photo: Andy Hansen)

Auburn battled Georgia tightly throughout on Wednesday night but ultimately fell to the Bulldogs 79-78 in Athens. Despite leading the entire first half, Auburn’s play was spotty to begin the game. Freshman Jared Harper sank a three-pointer to begin the game, giving Auburn the early 3-0 lead with 19:14 to go in the first. After two Georgia baskets and a jumper from Austin Wiley, the Tigers went on an 8-0 run that lasted just over three minutes to give Auburn a double-digit lead at the 13:46 mark, 14-4. The lead would stay in double-figures for seven minutes before a three-pointer by Georgia’s Jordan Harris cut Auburn’s lead to 9 with under six to play. Auburn held off Georgia to finish the half, up 37-30. Georgia’s key player, JJ Frazier, was held off the scoreboard for over 11 minutes to open the game but would end the first half with 10 points. Frazier would carry that momentum into the locker room, and onto the floor for the second half. The senior shot out of the gate by sinking a three-pointer just 10 seconds into the final half, just three of his 21 second-half points. Mustapha Heron scored Auburn’s first eight points of the half, with two three’s and a jumper to bring Auburn’s lead to 45-43. His second three and layup broke up two ties. Frazier turned on the jets with 13:11 remaining in the half, as he helped Georgia pick up their first lead of the game. He tied the game at 52 with a three-pointer, then succeeded on both free-throw attempts on their next possession, giving the Bulldogs a 54-52 lead. Georgia would hold on to the lead until TJ Dunans’ layup with 3:50 to go moved Auburn ahead again, 73-71. After Georgia extended their lead to six, Danjel Purifoy succeeded from three and hit two free throws to pull Auburn within one with 37 seconds remaining. Auburn had an opportunity to steal a win in Athens, but Harper’s go-ahead shot with 3 seconds left was off the mark, allowing Georgia to earn the win. Six Tigers reached double-digits, led by Bryce Brown’s 15. Heron was one rebound away from a double-double, recording 13 points and 9 rebounds. Harper led in assists with six. Auburn moves to 17-13, 6-11 in SEC play. The Tigers wrap up the regular season on Saturday with a home match with Missouri. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:30 P.M.

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