Feb. 5, 2011
Box Score | Season Stats
ATHENS, Ga. -- Earnest Ross scored a career-high 30 points, including Auburn's final 12 points, but the scrappy Tigers lost an 81-72 overtime heartbreaker to Georgia in Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday. Ross, who made 5-of-7 three-pointers, scored four points in three seconds to send the game into overtime.
Georgia led by six with under three minutes to go in regulation and led 67-63 before Ross made a layup with 13 seconds remaining, stole the in-bounds pass at midcourt and drove in for the tying layup with 10 seconds left. Gerald Robinson drove the length of the court and missed a layup in traffic just before the buzzer as the game went into overtime tied at 67.
Ross opened the extra period with another layup to give Auburn a 69-67 lead, its first since 15-13 just under eight minutes into the game. After Robinson split a pair of free throws and sank a 3-pointer to put the Bulldogs back in front, Ross drilled his career-high tying fifth 3-pointer to give the Tigers a 72-71 lead with 3:13 to play.
"I thought we played hard and tough," said Ross. "We battled and competed to the buzzer. We just couldn't pull it out. A lot of people made big shots in the game today, but it is the last piece that you need to put it together for the puzzle. That's what we didn't have."
Georgia scored the game's final 10 points after that.
"It was a good college game. It was a great effort," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "I am proud of the kids for the way they fought. I didn't think we fought as a collective group in the last game, but I thought we did today. Give Georgia credit. They made the plays down the stretch when they needed to be made, and we didn't."
Auburn (8-15, 1-8) jumped out to a 14-8 lead but Georgia (16-6, 5-4) went on a 13-1 run while holding the Tigers scoreless for nearly five minutes. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Travis Leslie and Sherrard Brantley helped extend the Bulldogs lead to their largest of the game at 29-20 with 6:26 to go in the half.
The Tigers made three-straight 3-poiners as Ross banked-in a trey and swished another, and Josh Langford drained one from the left corner. That was followed by a Chris Denson drive in the lane for an 11-2 run to bring Auburn to within 33-32 with 2:05 to go.
Trailing 38-34 at halftime, Ross scored two straight layups to tie the game a minute into the second period.
His fourth 3-pointer of the game brought Auburn to within 60-55 with 8:11 remaining. A Gabriel jumper and Forbes' shot in the lane on Auburn's next two possessions brought the Tigers within 60-59 with 6:20 to go.
A Josh Wallace steal and fastbreak layup by Denson closed the Georgia lead to 66-63 with 1:33 on the clock to set up the heroics in the final seconds of regulation.
Kenny Gabriel had 11 points for Auburn while Denson scored 10 points off the bench. Ross also pulled down seven rebounds and had three steals along with 12-of-18 shooting from the field. Ty Armstrong pitched in five points and six boards in 20 minutes while Adrian Forbes had four points and six rebounds.
Jeremy Price's 22 points and 14 rebounds led Georgia as Travis Leslie added 20 points and eight boards and Trey Thompkins totaled 16 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Auburn shot 42.0 percent from the floor but made a season-high nine 3-pointers on 18 attempts for a season-high 50.0 percent. The Tigers converted only 5-of-14 free throws compared to Georgia's 25-of-37 from the foul line. Georgia shot 49.0 percent from the field and was 6-of-17 from behind the arc.
Much taller Georgia outrebounded Auburn 48-30. The Tigers only had nine turnovers for the second straight weekend, forced 17 Bulldog miscues for a 16-6 edge in points off turnovers.
Auburn has a week off before it plays host to Mississippi State next Saturday at 6 pm Central in Auburn Arena. The game will be televised by FSN South.