Dawgs "Underachieve" at Auburn

AUBURN - Travis Leslie compiled a double-double in the first half alone and finished with 19 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, but the Georgia men's basketball team came up short on the road at Auburn Wednesday night, falling 82-63 to the Tigers at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

The Bulldogs never led in the ballgame as they drop to 10-12 (2-7) on the season. Auburn improves to an even 12-12 (3-6), while the all-time series between the SEC rivals is now knotted at 87 apiece.

"Auburn outplayed us tonight in a lot of places," said head coach Mark Fox. "We had three frontline players with no rebounds at halftime. We just didn't play well enough to win, and when Trey [Thompkins] has more fouls than he has shot attempts and we can't keep him on the floor, we're not good enough to hang in there offensively. Our defense wasn't good enough either, and we didn't rebound well. It was a mixed bag of things that we underachieved on tonight."

Thompkins – who entered the contest as the second-leading scorer in the conference at 17.5 ppg – fouled out with 8:33 to go and was held to six points and four rebounds in only 13 minutes of action. Dustin Ware joined Leslie in double figures on the night with 10 points.

Auburn's Lucas Hargrove put up a game-best 24 points to go with 11 rebounds, while Tay Waller logged 16 points and DeWayne Reed and Frankie Sullivan had 12 and 11 for the Tigers, respectively.

The Tigers were already looking at a nine-point lead, at 13-4, with 14:27 left in the first following a lay-up for Waller. The Bulldogs would cut the advantage to just four at 21-17 with a pair of Leslie free throws with just under 10 left, and the Auburn lead shrunk to 23-22 on a three for Ware that he put up off an offensive rebound.

But a 7-0 Auburn run would follow as they built up another eight-point lead with 6:42 left in the opening period. Back-to-back Tiger threes put Auburn up by double digits, 39-29, for the first time in the contest before stretching it to 12, 43-31, with a lay-up from Reed with the clock reading 2:10. Reed was fouled on the shot and completed the three-point play to put Auburn up 13. The Bulldogs were able to close the gap to nine, 45-36, heading into halftime despite turning in only three field goals in the final five minutes of the first half.

Albert Jackson opened the second half with a jumper to bring the Bulldogs to within seven, but Auburn continued to stretch its lead after that. The Tigers took another 13-point lead on a lay-up from Johnnie Lett, 57-44, with 11:33 to go, and would follow a Thompkins score with a 6-0 run to take an 18-point lead with 7:04 remaining.

UGA would never get closer than 14 after that, as Auburn closed it out with a jumper out of Josh Wallace with 32 seconds left to maintain the 19-point win at home.

The Bulldogs will look to regain the momentum they carried after last Saturday's 72-58 upset over No. 18 Vanderbilt when they host South Carolina this Saturday at 4 p.m. in Stegeman Coliseum.

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