Bryce Brown (above) is averaging 9.2 points per game for the Tigers.
Auburn, Ala.--Still looking for their first SEC road basketball win of the season, Coach Bruce Pearl’s Auburn basketball team will travel to Athens on Saturday to try to make that happen vs. the Georgia Bulldogs.
Tipoff is set for 4:30 p.m. CST from Stegeman Coliseum where the Bulldogs are 11-3 this season with four victories in five SEC games. Overall, UGA has a 12-8 record, including a 5-4 mark in the league.
Auburn, which is 9-12 overall and 3-6 in the SEC, will try to snap a four-game losing streak. On Tuesday night the Tigers lost at home, dropping an 80-68 contest vs. LSU.
“They can put four guys on the floor at the same time that can win their positions a lot of nights,” Pearl said of the Bulldogs, who feature a quartet of players who are scoring in double figures. “J.J. Frazier is just a great scorer, a great shooter. He has gotten better and doesn’t turn it over.”
Frazier, a 5-10, 155 junior, is averaging 16.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.
Yante Maten, a 6-8, 240 sophomore, is the number two scorer (15.8 points) and is averaging a team-leading 7.7 rebounds.
Kenny Gaines, a 6-3 senior, is averaging 14.4 points while 6-6 junior Charles Mann is averaging 10.6 points.
“Maten is a big kid that has developed,”?Pearl says. “He was a really good freshman, big, strong, physical and done a really nice job with his development.
“Gaines and Mann as senior guards have played a lot of basketball in the SEC,” the coach says. “All four of those guys are capable of winning their matchup pretty consistently and I think that’s why Georgia is right in the middle of our league and picked by most people in the upper division.
“Like most teams in the league, they play really well at home,” said Pearl, who added, “the only team to beat them in the league on their court is Texas A&M.”
Auburn freshman guard Bryce Brown was asked if it has been frustrating to the Tigers to deal with an injury-plagued season. “Of course, we all know that, but we have to go with what we have right now,” he says. “I think what we have is enough definitely. The people we have, we trust each other. We’ll continue to do that, because like I said, we have to play harder than the other team.
“We should be fine, but of course, it’s frustrating. Of course, we wish we had those guys out there, but have to go with what we have right now.”
News and Notes: Pearl noted he misspoke on Wednesday when he said that freshman guard Danjel Purifoy definitely won’t play until next season. Fellow freshman, Brown, says, “Danjel, he’s staying positive, helping the team out as much as he can, giving everybody advice, just being a good teammate. Danjel is a real good teammate so he’s doing a pretty good job handling what he’s going through.”...Brown has made 48 three-points shots, which is the fifth most in AU history for a freshman. He made six vs. LSU...Junior guard Kareem Canty has made 69 threes, which is 11th in AU history for a single season...Auburn is 24th nationally in made threes per game with 9.4.
Junior guard T.J. Dunans, who has not played since being injured on Dec. 23rd, is making progress. "I ?would say the knee is significantly better, but he has got to get his quad strength up to the point where the doctors will even look at letting him go. I do know that he does have a doctor’s appointment next week to get another look at it, but is there a chance he is done for the year as we said earlier? Yes, there always was that chance because originally it was a six-week injury and then two weeks after that he had surgery to repair some damage and some bleeding and things like that, which then pushed it out another six to eight, which gets us to where I guess next week or the week after we’re looking at it.”...Pearl said that if Dunans isn’t able to play again this year the Tigers will file an appeal to get the junior a medical hardship redshirt. He was injured in game 10. “Then the second thing would be, if he can’t play, he would be looking at a sixth year,” Pearl said. “He would have to appeal that also because of his clock so there are two issues. Is it possible? It’s possible, but right now we are working to try to bring him back, and then if he can’t come back, then we would look at the redshirt.”