ATHENS, Ga. – Sharife Cooper posted a double-double. Six players scored in double figures. Auburn blocked 14 shots. It was a complete performance from the Tigers on Wednesday as they cruised to a 95-77 victory at Georgia, notching their first win in SEC play.
“It was an exciting game, very up-tempo,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. “I think the biggest thing for us was Georgia really attacks the rim – we blocked 14 shots, and they shot 41 percent. I thought our defense was really good.
“Offensively, we had six guys in double figures because (Cooper) just shares it. He was the best player on the floor. He’s hard to guard and makes what we do harder to guard.”
After putting up 26 points and nine assists in his Auburn debut on Saturday, Cooper one-upped his performance with 28 points, 12 assists, five rebounds and two steals Wednesday night.
The Tigers led 45-34 at the break, but Georgia scored the first seven points in the second half to cut the lead to four. However, Auburn responded with a 22-3 run over the next eight minutes that began with a lay-up from Cooper, included back-to-back-to-back 3s from Jamal Johnson, Cooper and JT Thor, and was capped by an easy deuce inside from Jaylin Williams.
Over the game’s final nine minutes, Cooper scored or assisted on 20 of Auburn’s last 24 points.
Cambridge was second on the team with 14 points and showed off his defensive prowess with five blocks and three steals. His five blocks were a career high and matched Williams who also blocked five shots. As a team, the Tigers’ 14 blocks were the most by any team in Division I basketball this season and the most by an Auburn team under Pearl.
Williams, Thor and Allen Flanigan all finished with 11 points apiece. Thor scored five quick points early to put the Tigers ahead 8-3. He also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.
Johnson made it six in double figures with 10 points. The junior guard put Auburn on the board first with a 3 on the team’s opening possession. He’s now scored in double figures in six straight games, including all five SEC games to this point.
The Tigers dominated inside on both ends. In addition to the 14 blocks defensively, they also outrebounded Georgia and won the battle in the paint, 58-44.
Auburn (7-6, 1-4) will return home Saturday to host Kentucky inside Auburn Arena.