By Ken Cross
Jared Harper scored 24 points and dished seven assists while Mustapha Heron had 19 and the Auburn Tigers rebounded from Wednesday night’s loss to Texas A&M with a 78-61 win at Georgia in Athens. The quick athletic Tigers defended Georgia well as they forced the issue on the perimeter and turned 13 Bulldogs’ turn overs into 25 points.
Auburn played without leading scorer Bryce Brown who was out with a strained shoulder.
Harper started strong in the first half with 10 points over the the first 6:17 as he netted back-to-back triples to give Auburn an early 17-9 advantage. Georgia bounced back to cut the Auburn lead to 31-28 on a jumper by Tyree Crump before the Tigers finished the first half on a 9-3 run with Heron scoring five points for the 40-31 margin after 20 minutes.
Four was as close the Bulldogs would get n the second half as Harper and Heron heated up down the stretch. They combined for the game’s last 11 points after Chuma Okeke and Malik Dunbar hit back-to-back threes to give the Tigers a 67-51 advantage with 6:15 to play.
Yante Maten led Georgia with 20 points in 39 minutes while Rayshaun Hammonds and Juwan Parker had 14 each. The loss was the Bulldogs’ sixth in seven games as they fell too 13-11 and 4-8 in the SEC. Auburn improved to 22-3, 10-2 in the SEC, as they ready for Kentucky’s visit to Auburn Arena on Wednesday.