Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury the Auburn Tigers, not to praise them.
All right, that opening sentence worked better when I first conceived of it as a literary reference demonstrating the proper employment of the serial comma and the correct use of the word "lend," but the "bury" part seems disrespectful in the wake of the subsequent announcement of the passing of Uga VIII, so I’ll start a second time:
The Plainsmen, who one week ago registered a 15-point upset over the South Carolina Gamecocks on the road, appeared at the end of 40 minutes of play in Athens to be on the verge of asserting a claim to renewed national relevance. By the conclusion of the first overtime period, though, the silver-clad Georgia Bulldogs had asserted themselves, staved off disaster, and secured a critical conference victory.
Despite being under the weather and requiring an IV earlier in the day, Trey Thompkins contributed 16 points, while Jeremy Price led the way for the Hoop Hounds with a career-high 22 points. Earnest Ross accounted for 30 of the Tigers’ 72 points, including five of the visitors’ nine three-pointers. The Plainsmen’s twelve steals and 50 per cent shooting from beyond the arc kept Auburn in a game the Bulldogs otherwise dominated. The Athenians recorded eight blocks, out-rebounded the Orange and Blue by a 48-30 margin, and drained 25 of 37 free throws.
The nine-point win represented the rivalry’s 16th triumph by the home team in the 20 series meetings since the SEC divisional split, and it tied the all-time standings in the record book. Even discounting a Georgia victory from the Jim Harrick era that was vacated because of NCAA sanctions, the Red and Black today snarled the series by securing their 87th victory over an Auburn program that had bested them on 87 previous occasions.
Georgia never should have allowed this contest to be close. Mark Fox accepted full responsibility, stating afterward, "I’m very disappointed. I don’t think I did a very good job preparing our team to play, to be honest with you." Nevertheless, the Bulldogs took control when the chips were down, outscoring Auburn 14-5 in overtime and ending the game on a 10-0 run while holding the Tigers without a basket for the final 3:13.
The Red and Black needed the win, and they got it to improve to 16-6 overall, move above .500 in SEC play, and put themselves in a position to secure an NCAA Tournament bid with five wins in their last eight games. Today, the Bulldogs did what they needed to do, even if only barely.