Big Game By Ross Not Enough for Tigers

Despite a career-high scoring performance from Earnest Ross, the Tigers lost an SEC men's basketball game in overtime at Georgia.

Athens, Ga.--Earnest Ross scored a career-high 30 points to give his Auburn team a chance to pull off an upset at Georgia on Saturday, but the Bulldogs pulled out an 81-72 SEC men's basketball victory in overtime.

A steal and drive to the basket by Ross with 13.7 seconds to play tied the game at 67-67 near the end of regulation.

Ross then put the Tigers up by two to start the overtime period. With 3:11 to play in the five-minute overtime, Ross nailed a three-pointer from the wing to put the visitors up 72-71, but Auburn could not score the rest of the way.

The Tigers fell to 8-15 overall and 1-8 in the SEC. Georgia improved its record to 16-6 overall and 5-4 in the SEC.

After ripping his team's lack of mental toughness in a home loss on Thursday night against Tennessee, Auburn coach Tony Barbee said he saw improvement against the Bulldogs.

"They have been pretty consistent about fighting," he said. "We had a couple of guys let us down last game. I have been on them hard the last 48 hours about fighting their tails off no matter what happens whether it is basketball or life. No matter how good you or no matter how bad you are, things aren't always going to go your way.

"When they go a little south, what do you do? Do you pack up your tent and go away or do you fight? Whether it is basketball or life, that is what it is about. I?thought our guys really fought their tails off."

Despite liking his team's effort, the Auburn coach had concern about the Tigers' performance in several areas, including the foul line.

Auburn hit just 5-14 free throws while Georgia cashed in on 25-37 attempts. "It seemed like they made every one down the stretch,"?Barbee said of the Bulldogs.

"Give them credit, they made plays, but at the same time is disappointing because we had opportunities because we had that game," Barbee said.

Ross, a sophomore guard, hit 12-18 field goals and was 5-7 on three-pointers and 1-3 at the foul line while adding seven rebounds. Barbee said that he also liked the defensive work he saw from Ross.

"At the end of the day, our defense wasn't nearly good enough," said Barbee, who noted the Bulldogs made 49 percent of their field goals. "You are not going to win many of those games."

Georgia was led by Jeremy Price, who scored 22 points and 14 rebounds. The big man hit 6-9 field goals and 10-13 free throws.

Travis Leslie hit 7-12 field goals for the Bulldogs while making all three of his treys as he scored 20 points.

Trey Thompkins was the third big scorer for the home team. He finished with 16 points and six rebounds.

The Bulldogs dominated the boards, holding a 48-30 rebounding margin. The Tigers were able to keep the game close by making 9-18 threes, coming up with 12 steals and turning the ball over just nine times. Georgia turned the ball over 17 times, had just four steals and hit 6-17 threes.

The Tigers got 11 points and four rebounds from Kenny Gabriel and freshman guard Chris Denson added 10 points. Allen Payne and Josh Langford scored five apiece for the Tigers while Adrian Forbes added four points and six rebounds. The only other Tiger to score was Josh Wallace, who finished with two points.

Auburn will return to action next Saturday with a home game vs. Mississippi State. Tipoff time is set for 6 p.m. at the Auburn Arena.

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