Cold Shooting Ruins Senior Night for Tigers

Auburn had a chance to win until the finals seconds vs. Georgia despite a dismal shooting performance for the home team.

Auburn, Ala.--Georgia was in the zone Wednesday night and Auburn Tigers weren't. The result was a disappointing 59-54 Senior Night SEC basketball loss for the Tigers.

Jeff Lebo's Tigers put up 31 three-point shots and made just six and overall the Tigers were 21-62 from the field for a dreadful 33.9 percent shooting performance. In contrast, Georgia hit 48.9 percent of its shots.

Auburn was scoring well early in the game when the visiting Bulldogs were in a man-to-man defense, but when UGA switched to 1-3-1 and 2-3 zones Auburn struggled to shoot the basketball whether it was from the perimeter, mid-range or even close to the basket.

The result was the Bulldogs snapped a five-game losing streak and improved to 4-11 in the SEC and 13-15 overall. The Tigers are 4-11, too, and dropped to 14-14 overall.

"We worked the ball around, we just couldn't make our open shots--that was the big key to this game," said Auburn guard Frank Tolbert, one of three seniors honored prior to his final game at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Lebo agreed with Tolbert and said, "When you shoot as poorly as that you can never get any kind of flow going offensively to your game. We never really did. Defensively, we were good enough."

Despite the poor shooting, the Tigers had multiple chances to win the game until the closing seconds.

With 1:38 left in the game, Auburn's best three-point shooter, Quan Prowell, had a chance to tie the game at 55-55, but his shot from just outside the three-point arc was an air ball.

On Auburn's next possession, Quantez Robertson missed a three to tie the game.

Then the Tigers got a wide open look for Rasheem Barrett from the corner for a three to tie. His air ball came up short, but Tolbert got the rebound and was fouled with 21 seconds left. He made both of his free throws to cut the lead to 55-54.

With 13.2 seconds remaining, Billy Humphrey made both ends of a 1-1 to stretch UGA's lead to 57-54.

Once again, the Tigers got Prowell a three-point shot to tie the game. "I thought it was a pretty good look," Prowell said. "It just went in and out."

With 4.3 seconds left Gaines was fouled, the 10th on the Tigers, and he had two free throws to ice the game. However, Georgia's leading scorer missed both. Prowell reached for the rebound, but couldn't control the ball as Lebo called a timeout. Georgia was given the ball on the baseline with 3.6 seconds left ending AU's chance to pull out a victory.

Auburn was out-rebounded 38-32, but was able to lead much of the game because of fewer turnovers. The Tigers had just nine in the contest while the visitors had twice that number.

"They switched it up a lot so we had to guess what defense they were in half the time," Prowell said. "It was a tough night for us."

Playing his final home game for the Tigers, Prowell said, "It was real disappointing for me. I just wanted to go out on a good note. Going out on a note like this is not what I planned."

Quan Prowell is honored with his parents on Senior Night. Coach Jeff Lebo joined the pre-game ceremony.

Auburn led much of the first half building the lead to 11 points at the 11:10 mark, but the Bulldogs pulled ahead four minutes before intermission at 24-22 on a basket by Albert Jackson who led the Bulldogs in scoring with 16 points. UGA led by three at the break as Gaines hit a trey with four seconds left in the half.

Auburn shot 36.7 percent the first half compared to 46.2 percent for the Bulldogs, who were 4-13 on threes while Auburn made 3-15.

Georgia's big advantage in the first half was a 22-13 lead in rebounds. Auburn turned the ball over just two times while the visitors had eight first half turnovers.

Auburn hit just 31.3 percent of hits second half shots. The Tigers were 3-16 on treys in the second half.

Frank Tolbert and his parents were honored on Senior Night.

"I thought the first half we got unbelievable looks," Lebo said. "They started man and we attacked that pretty good, then they went zone and we got good looks. We have to put the ball in the bucket because we can't manufacture anything easy. We have to put up the perimeter shots up, but 6-31 we aren't going to beat anybody."

Lebo added, "Our way to win is very simple. We have got to make the three."

Tolbert led the Tigers with 12 points as he hit 3-10 field goals and added five rebounds.

Prowell finished with 11 points and seven rebounds for the Tigers while Barrett was next with 10 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals, but he made just 5-15 field goals. DeWayne Reed scored eight points off the bench and Robertson added seven points, five assists and three rebounds.

In addition to Jackson's 16, Gaines scored 11 and Terrance Woodbury also scored 11.

Auburn only got to the foul line nine times and made six. UGA was 9-16 at the free throw line.

The Tigers finish the regular season with a 5 p.m. game on Saturday at Arkansas. The contest will be televised on ESPN Classic.

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