Coming off a loss to archrival Alabama and trailing by double digits at halftime for the third time in four games, No. 17 Auburn never panicked and let the home crowd spark another second-half comeback.
Bryce Brown scored 28 points, and Auburn rallied in the second half to beat Georgia 79-65 on Saturday.
Mustapha Heron had 14 points, and Jared Harper added 13 on just 2-of-9 shooting for the Tigers (17-2, 5-1 Southeastern Conference), who came out flat for the fourth straight game and trailed by 16 points at halftime.
Yante Maten, who came in as the SEC leader in both points and rebounds per game, had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Bulldogs (12-6, 3-4). Juwan Parker added 16 points.
Auburn went on an 18-2 run to start the second half, punctuated by a spectacular dunk by Heron that brought the crowd back to life and gave the Tigers the lead for good. The Tigers outscored Georgia 53-25 after the break and shot 58 percent after making just a 25 percent of their first-half shots.
“We pressed the whole game full court, and I thought it might take its toll,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “(Georgia) plays some guys heavy minutes. We just tried to wear them out.”
The Bulldogs missed their first 14 field-goal attempts of the second half and shot 25 percent after halftime. They made 60 percent of their shots in the opening frame.
“We just didn’t respond to the wave of the emotion in the building and to their start,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “We never got the building calmed down. They shot the ball so well to start the second half that the momentum completely swung.”
Georgia’s size overwhelmed Auburn’s front line as the Bulldogs outscored the Tigers 14-4 in the paint in the first half. Georgia took a 40-26 lead into halftime.
“Really a tale of two halves,” Fox said. “As well as we played in the first half, the second half was the opposite.”
Auburn: A return to Auburn Arena helped the Tigers recover after Wednesday’s loss to Alabama, which snapped a 14-game winning streak. Auburn has won 11 straight at home.
Georgia: The Bulldogs have lost three of four and will be happy to return home, where they are 8-1.
HE SAID IT
Heron on his pivotal dunk: “I had hit a three to open the half up, so I was expecting them to come out hard on the next shot I tried to take. It was a late closeout. I waited for him and kind of went by him and then just tried to attack the rim as hard as I could, because I knew the big was going to rotate over. I just tried to finish.”
Auburn: At Missouri on Wednesday.
Georgia: Hosts Arkansas on Tuesday.