Frazier has 31 points, Georgia rallies to top Auburn 79-78
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — After leading a comeback win over Auburn, Georgia senior J.J. Frazier got down on his hands and knees and kissed the “G″ at midcourt of Stegeman Coliseum.
He’s hoping it was a goodbye kiss.
Frazier had 31 points after being held scoreless in the first 11 minutes and Georgia overcame a 16-point deficit to beat Auburn 79-78 on Wednesday night and extend its late-season surge.
“I haven’t seen anybody have a heart like him,” said Georgia freshman Tyree Crump of Frazier, the 5-foot-10 guard who made five 3-pointers and scored at least 28 points for the fourth straight game.
Georgia (18-12, 9-8 Southeastern Conference) has won three straight and five of six to keep alive its hopes for NCAA Tournament consideration. Derek Ogbeide had 10 points and 15 rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Frazier would rather not return to his home court for an NIT game.
“Hopefully this will be my last game at Stegeman,” he said. “I’m glad we went out with a win.”
Jared Harper missed a last-second 3-pointer for Auburn (17-12, 6-10 SEC), which led 28-12 in the first half.
Two free throws by Frazier gave Georgia a 79-73 lead. Auburn’s Danjel Purifoy, who had 12 points, sank a 3-pointer and had two free throws about 30 seconds later to cut the lead to one point.
Purifoy’s steal of a pass by Frazier gave Auburn a chance with less than 10 seconds remaining before Harper’s last-second miss.
“To be down by six with a minute or so and have a chance to win it at the end is pretty good,” said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl.
Bryce Brown led the Tigers with 15 points. Mustapha Heron had 13.
Frazier missed his only shot in the first 11 minutes.
With Frazier temporarily shut down and Georgia missing injured top scorer Yante Maten for the third straight game, Georgia’s offense struggled early. Brown’s 3-pointer gave the Tigers a 28-12 lead.
Frazier said he told his teammates in a huddle “We’ve been through worse.”
Frazier’s fast-break jumper sparked a 12-0 run that cut the lead to four points. After Auburn led 37-30 at halftime, Georgia finally pulled even at 40-all on a jam by Ogbeide. The Bulldogs finally took their first lead at 54-52 on two free throws by Frazier.
Auburn: The Tigers, second in the SEC with 8.9 3-pointers per game, made 12 of 27 3s. Brown made five of seven 3s. ... Freshman center Austin Wiley had six of Auburn’s first nine points and finished with 10 points and eight rebounds. Heron had nine rebounds.
Georgia: Seniors Brandon Young, Kenny Paul Geno and Houston Kessler joined Frazier as starters in their final home regular-season game. Young missed a jumper, only his third of the season, on Georgia’s first possession. ... Tyree Crump had 10 points.
With seven seconds remaining, Pearl used a timeout to discuss three options for the final play. Pearl wanted a layup. Apparently the 3-pointer by Harper was not one of the preferred options.
Even so, Pearl said his young team “played well.”
“I think you can see from our standpoint that we have a very bright future,” Pearl said. “When you start four freshmen and a sophomore like we do, and we have a good group coming in next year. ... We are not done yet, either.”
Maten was on the floor for pregame warmups, and the outline of his knee brace could be seen under his warmup pants. Maten ranks third in the SEC with 18.7 points and ninth with 6.9 rebounds. Maten was hurt early in a loss to No. 13 Kentucky on Feb. 18, and since then the Bulldogs are 3-0.
That doesn’t mean Maten isn’t missed.
“Right now we’ve got no margin for error,” said coach Mark Fox. “We’ve got 18 points and seven rebounds sitting over there in a knee brace.”
Auburn: Hosts Missouri on Saturday
Georgia: At Arkansas on Saturday
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