SEC Tournament starts Thursday afternoon with a big game between Georgia and Auburn at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Bulldogs need this win to keep their hopes of an NCAA Tournament at-large berth alive. Not a packed house, but plenty of Georgia fans and students here who made the 60-mile trip from the Athens, Ga. campus. Georgia beat Auburn in overtime in the first meeting between the two schools, so this is no gimme for the Dogs. Updates are from the top:
Georgia 69, Auburn 51 (final): Put it in the books, Georgia notches must-win behind 22 points from junior forward Trey Thompkins. Freshman point guard Chris Denson led Auburn with 21 points. Georgia (21-10) moves on to face Alabama in the quarterfinals on Friday at 1. Auburn’s first season under coach Tony Barbee ends at 11-20.
Georgia 69, Auburn 51: Seldom-used Georgia junior forward Connor Nolte, from nearby Alpharetta, Ga., gets nice applause from the crowd after hitting two free throws with 46 seconds left.
Georgia 66, Auburn 45: I really think Georgia coach Mark Fox has done a nice job with this program in two years. He inherited some talent from Dennis Felton but has made the most of it.
Georgia 65, Auburn 45: With 3:01 left, Georgia’s Gerald Robinson looking to complete a three-point play out of a time out. Looks like Georgia-Alabama bubble matchup will take place here Friday.
Georgia 63, Auburn 45: Trey Thompkins out of the game now for Georgia. Wouldn’t expect to see him the rest of the way. Thompkins coming off an injured toe last week and could use rest heading into big showdown Friday with Alabama.
Georgia 61, Auburn 43: 3-point attempt from Auburn guard Earnest Ross gets wedged on the rim. It’s been that kind of a game for the Tigers, who have struggled shooting from outside.
Georgia 59, Auburn 43: Auburn center Ty Armstrong now in the game. Armstrong played two seasons at Gainesville Eastside before transferring to Florida Air Academy in Melbourne. Florida never showed interest in Armstrong. Armstrong has picked up two fouls in less than two minutes.
Georgia 57, Auburn 41: ‘Dogs getting points inside and on the break. Georgia junior forward Trey Thompkins playing up to preseason expectations. Thompkins with 22 points, scoring inside and outside.
Georgia 50, Auburn 35: Bulldogs have hit a little lull offensively but Auburn hasn’t been able to take advantage. Freshman point guard Chris Denson with 11 points for Auburn. Alabama team was sitting under the basket in the first half but gone now. Winner faces Alabama on Friday at 1. Georgia coach Mark Fox still sticking with his starters despite the big lead.
Georgia 45, Auburn 27: Bulldogs pulling away now. Trey Thompkins with 20 points, is 3-4 from 3-point range. Auburn trying to press, but Georgia breaking it consistently.
Georgia 37, Auburn 24: Shooting in the dome seems to be affecting everyone but Georgia forward Trey Thompkins. Thompkins 2-3 from 3-point range. Rest of players 1 for 17.
First-half stats of note: Georgia with 16 second-chance points. Auburn with 15 points from its bench. Auburn 0-7 on 3-point attempts. Freshman point guard Chris Denson led Auburn in the first half with 9 points.
Georgia 34, Auburn 23 (halftime): Georgia ends half a little sloppy, but still ends half ahead by double-digits. Trey Thompkins leads Georgia with 14 points, with junior forward Travis Leslie adding 9 points.
Georgia 34, Auburn 19: Georgia fans here starting to bark. Bulldogs dominating inside, led by 14 points from junior power forward Trey Thompkins.
Georgia 30, Auburn 19: Auburn really getting killed on the boards. Don’t know Georgia’s exact number of second chance points but it must be a lot.
Georgia 26, Auburn 17: Nice putback by Georgia junior forward Travis Leslie. May be seeing a head-to-head matchup with two of the most athletic players in the SEC. Auburn junior forward Kenny Gabriel is another high-wire act who came up with an impressive block earlier the half. Plenty of NBA scouts here, probably feel like Leslie and Gabriel are sleepers at the next level.
Georgia 22, Auburn 15: Auburn coach Tony Barbee calls time out. Auburn wearing the Halloween-orange unis. Brings back to mind Charles Barkley , who looked like the Great Pumpkin when he played for the Tigers in the 1980s.
Georgia 20. Auburn 15: Auburn hangs around thanks to good play off the bench from freshman point guard Chris Denson. Florida had some interest in Denson, a 6-2 point guard from Columbus, Ga. Instead, the Gators turned to 17-year-old Gainesville native Scottie Wilbekin. Turned out to be a pretty good choice.
Georgia 16, Auburn 11: Georgia playing with a sense of urgency early. Trey Thompkins with 7 points inside. Both teams having issues with depth perception shooting in the dome. Georgia’s Dustin Ware and Travis Leslie have already fired up airballs.