But they were victmized on the defensive end. The Tigers shot 46.5 percent from the field and made 27 of their 34 fouls shots (79.4 percent). Chris Denson, a senior from Columbus, had 18 points to lead five Auburn scorers in double figures.
“The difference ended up being the free-throw line,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “We sent them there way too much and they shot their free throws well. We didn’t shoot ours as well and we didn’t get there as much.”
The Bulldogs were 19-of-28 (67.9 percent) from the foul line. Charles Mann led Georgia with 18 and Nemi Djurisic added 11.
Fox was definitely thinking outside the box with his starting lineup. He gave the nod to redshirt freshman Houston Kessler over senior Donte Williams at one of the two post positions. Kessler not only has never started in his career, but had never scored a point. His stats coming into Saturday’s game: seven games played, 2.1 minutes per game, 0-2 shooting, 4 rebounds.
“I wasn’t pleased our upperclassmen’s response the other day,” Fox said of starting Kessler. “So I put Houston in there and he did a nice job while he was in there.”
The shooting problems that plagued Georgia in the loss to Vanderbilt returned in the first half against Auburn. The Bulldogs made their first two 3-point attempts of the game, then didn’t make another for the rest of the half. They rallied from inside the arc to shoot 33 percent and trail 33-25 at halftime.
The Bulldogs have five days to regroup. They don’t play again until Thursday night when LSU comes to Athens.
“We’ll be fine,” Mann said. “We’ll bounce back. We faced adversity earlier in the season, so we’ll be fine. We’ll find a way to bounce back.”