The feel good of that 4-1 start to conference play is officially over. Georgia drops its third straight game with a 74-67 loss Saturday at Auburn to fall to 4-4 in SEC play and 10-10 overall.
The Bulldogs picked up where they left off on Wednesday struggling to put points on the board offensively despite the return of Kenny Gaines to the lineup. Georgia's only lead of the game came at the 19:13 mark when Houston Kessler knocked down a three to put the the Bulldogs up 3-2. Kessler made his first start of the season in place of Donte Williams.
Despite the early struggles, Georgia was able to hang within striking distance for most of the game. Auburn led 33-25 at halftime. They extended the lead to as many as 12 in the second half but a three-pointer by J.J. Frazier pulled the Bulldogs to within 67-63. Georgia got a rare stop on the next possession but Gaines was denied at the rim by Auburn's Matthew Attewe.
Mark Fox worked the officials hard down the stretch after Auburn was awarded free throws on a pair of late possessions where replay showed little to no contact. The Bulldogs would get no closer than three points in the final minute with the Tigers closing things out from the free throw line.
The Bulldogs rebounded from that slow start to shoot 42 percent for the game. Charles Mann led the way with 18 points and four assists. Georgia finished with 12 assists on 21 made baskets which was a big improvement over Wednesday's three assist performance against Vanderbilt. Nemanja Djurisic finished with 11 points and six rebounds off the bench while Gaines finished with nine despite 2-10 shooting in his return to the court.
Both teams combined to attempt 62 free throws in the game. Auburn got the better of the results from the line going 27-34 while Georgia managed to go 19-28.
Georgia won't play again until Thursday when they host LSU in a nationally televised game on ESPN2.