Mark Fox talks about win over Auburn from Anthony Dasher on Vimeo.
Head coach Mark Fox admitted Wednesday night's game between Georgia and visiting Auburn wasn't easy on the eyes.
But he wasn't complaining about the results, not after his Bulldogs ground out a tough 57-49 win for the team's third victory in its last four games.
How ugly was it? The two teams combined to commit more fouls (46) than field goals made (34), convert only 8 of 37 three-point attempts and misfire on 30 of 53 free throws.
"It was an ugly game, it really was. It was so physical. We missed enough free throws to make me go crazy. We fouled three-point shooters, we did some things that just drive a coach nuts," Fox said. "But both teams were playing so hard that when you're playing that hard it's hard to play pretty. Both teams were flat-out getting after it and when two teams do that, it's like a 6-3 football game."
Although the game was not a bouquet for the eyes Kentavious Caldwell-Pope came up smelling like a rose.
The sophomore came away with his third double-double of the year, scoring a team-high 20 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Freshman Charles Mann chipped in with 10 points.
"It feels good climbing our way up the ladder and just getting better a team," Caldwell-Pope said. "This is a turning point for us, winning three out of four games, but we need to focus on our next game (South Carolina on Saturday)."
After leading 26-22 at the half, the Bulldogs nursed what was at the most a four-point advantage until the Tigers (8-12, 2-5) tied the score at 43 with 4:52 to play.
But Georgia - despite scuffling offensively for most of game - was able to finish strong, building a 51-46 advantage with 58 seconds left on a free throw by Sherrard Brantley before cruising to the eight-point win.
"I didn't think we were very good defensively," Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. "Georgia had some players step up and make plays. We just backed off and didn't really get anything going."
Allen Payne led Auburn with 13 points.
"In our last eight halves of basketball we've played winning basketball in seven of them. We're becoming more consistent," Fox said. "That doesn't mean we're not making a ton of mistakes. There's a lot of room to grow here but they keep battling, keep trying to get better. I'm proud of the team. The players have stayed completely bought in and invested."
Georgia started slowly as Auburn jumped out to an early 9-4 lead before the Bulldogs started their comeback.
A 3-pointer by Caldwell-Pope put Georgia up for the first time at 14-13 before a dunk by Donte Williams extended the lead to three forcing the Tigers to call a timeout with 8:52 on the clock.
Frankie Sullivan's jumper brought the Tigers back within one a few seconds later, but those would be the final points either team would score for the next four minutes until Auburn forged ahead on a layup by Payne with 4:45 left.
But the Bulldogs finished the first half strong.
Three-pointers by Caldwell-Pope and Brantley sparked an 8-0 run by the Bulldogs, who eventually went into the locker room with a 26-22 lead, a half which saw both teams combine to miss 30 shots and turn the ball over 14 times.
NOTES: Georgia returns to action Saturday when the Bulldogs travel to Columbia, S.C. to take on South Carolina. The Bulldogs return home Feb. 9 against Texas A&M.
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