AUBURN 69, GEORGIA 68

Georgia picked a bad time to lay an egg.

On a day when the Bulldogs were favored by 11 points, had called for their fans to “red-out” Stegeman Coliseum and were playing a severely shorthanded Auburn team that had lost six of its last seven games, they played their worst home basketball game of the SEC season. Georgia blew a nine-point lead with five minutes to play to fall to the Tigers 69-68.

The loss — just the second at home for UGA this season — came at a time when it looked like the Bulldogs (16-8, 7-5 SEC) were about ready to start polishing their NCAA resume. Instead, it now it has a big, ol’ nasty blemish on it.

“We just didn’t play as determined as we needed to,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “We weren’t hungry enough. We better get hungry again.”

After a Georgia turnover that went out of bounds on an exchange between Kenny Gaines and Marcus Thornton, Auburn got a 3-point shot from K.T. Harrell with 55.7 seconds remaining for a 65-63 lead. Georgia then missed three of four 3-point attempts down the stretch. Its one make from Gaines came with 1.8 seconds remaining, too late.

The Bulldogs had one last desperation chance after Auburn committed a length-of-court turnover on the ensuing inbounds play. So Georgia regained possession under its own basket with 1.8 seconds still on the clock. But Nemanja Djurisic’s 3-point try from the left corner was short.

Harrell finished with a game-high 21 points as Auburn improves to 12-13 and 4-8 in SEC play.

Gaines led the Bulldogs with 18 and Charles Mann added 14. Georgia was 4-of-19 (21 percent) from 3-point range.

“Just disappointing, that’s all there is to it,” Gaines said.

Considering how poorly they played on offense in the first half, the Bulldogs were fortunate to be within a point, 29-28, at halftime. Georgia shot 30 percent from the field in the opening 20, and what made it worse was a lot of the misses were from point-blank range.

The Bulldogs started the game missing six of their first seven shots, and five of them were lay-ups, a couple of them practically uncontested.

Auburn kept Georgia in it by fouling. Four players ended up with two first-half fouls, including Cinmeon Bowers, who played only the first five minutes.