Tigers Fall in Free Throw-Fest at Georgia

Athens, Ga.--Georgia took command early and was never seriously threatened by visiting Auburn as the Bulldogs took an 86-79 victory in a foul-plagued SEC basketball contest on Saturday.

Five Tigers fouled out of the game that featured 60 total fouls and 70 foul shots as Auburn lost its fourth straight SEC game. Tiger starters Frank Tolbert, Quan Prowell, Korvotney Barber and Quantez Robertson all were sent off with five fouls apiece.

Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said he thought his team improved over its previous outings, but added, "It is hard to evaluate really because of the amount of fouls at both ends." Officials J.B.Caldwell, Tim Clougherty and Brian Forte called the game.

Georgia took a 14-point halftime lead and never allowed the Tigers to cut the margin under double figures until 3:06 was left when Rasheem Barrett's three-point shot cut the lead to 72-63. Auburn reduced the lead to six points on a three-pointer by freshman Kelvin Lewis in the closing minute, but the Bulldogs were never in major jeopardy of losing the lead down the stretch.

The Bulldogs improved their record to 16-9 overall and 7-5 in the SEC. Auburn slipped to 14-13 overall and 4-8 in the conference.

Sundiata Gaines led all scorers with 21 points while adding seven assists and two steals. He hit 11-15 free throws while his team made 29-40 as a group.

Tolbert led the Tigers in scoring with 17 points as he hit 5-10 field goals, including 3-6 treys.

Rasheem Barrett, the only Auburn starter who didn't foul out, finished with 14 points. A player mired in a shooting slump, he hit 6-12 field goals, including 2-4 three-pointers.

Auburn's other double figures scorer, freshman guard DeWayne Reed, hit 4-6 field goals, including 3-4 threes, to finish with 13 points, two assists, one steal and one turnover in 22 minutes as a reserve.

Quan Prowell, who also played as a reserve, was not much of a factor. Auburn's second-leading scorer was on the court for just 12 minutes before fouling out with four points and two rebounds.

Dollard didn't stay on the court much longer. AU's leading scorer finished with seven points and five rebounds before fouling out after 16 minutes of playing time.

Quantez Robertson drives between UGA players Dave Bliss (left) and Steve Newman (right).

Barber and Robertson played much more extensively than Prowell and Dollard before sitting down for good with their fifth fouls. Robertson was in the game for 29 minutes, but struggled offensively. He hit just 1-7 field goals and finished with eight points, five assists, four rebounds, three steals and one turnover. Barber scored eight points and added four rebounds and three blocked shots in 33 minutes on the court at Stegeman Coliseum.

In the first half the visiting Tigers got into a serious hole by shooting just 32.1 percent compared to 51.9 percent shooting for the Bulldogs. That put the visitors behind 41-27.

Auburn shot much better in the second half, making 50 percent from the field and 6-14 threes. However, UGA's halftime cushion was too much for the Tigers to overcome.

"In the first half we missed a lot of good looks, I thought, and they made some shots," said Lebo, who noted that he liked his team's effort. "We battled to the end. The second half I thought we got going a little better offensively."

The Tigers were out-rebounded 42-34, but didn't have the major turnover issue that has bothered the team during its losing streak. AU had 11 vs. the Bulldogs, two fewer than UGA. "We did do a nice job, I thought, taking care of the ball for the most part," said Lebo.

The Auburn coach said he liked what he saw from a pair of freshmen--Reed and Lucas Hargrove, who saw 10 minutes of playing time due to foul trouble with the guys who are normally on the court. Hargrove didn't take a field goal, but was 2-2 at the foul line and added three assists without a turnover.

While Georgia got to the foul line for 40 attempts, Auburn was there 30 times and made 20 of the attempts. Auburn was called for 33 fouls while Georgia was called for 27, but UGA did not have a player foul out of the game.

The Tigers return to action with a Wednesday 7 p.m. home game vs. Arkansas.

Statistics and Box Score on Team Front

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