Humphrey's frees help Bulldogs beat Auburn

AUBURN, Ala. - Georgia was the best last-place team on the court, but not by much.

Dacula grad Billy Humphrey made four free throws over the final 13 seconds to help the Bulldogs snap a five-game losing streak with a 59-54 win over Auburn Wednesday night in a matchup of teams at the bottom of their respective Southeastern Conference divisions.

Georgia (13-15, 4-11) survived two missed free throws after that and held Auburn without a field goal over the final three minutes.

'It got hairy there,' Bulldogs coach Dennis Felton said. 'We just grinded out the win.'

Albert Jackson scored a career-high 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting for the Bulldogs, who preserved a chance to avoid a sixth-place finish in the Eastern Division with the win and ended several losing streaks.

Humphrey hit two from the line with 13 seconds to play and Quan Prowell missed a potential tying 3-pointer for the Tigers (14-14, 4-11).

'The first thing that comes into my head is, 'You'd better not miss these free throws,' Humphrey said. 'I just think about how I'm going to make it as opposed to whether I'm going to make the shot. So I'm saying to myself, 'This one is going all net.'

Auburn nearly got another chance when Georgia's Sundiata Gaines missed a pair of free throws with 4 seconds left when one make would have clinched victory.

But Gaines beat two Auburn players to grab the rebound and preserve a win for the Bulldogs, who had dropped 10 of 11 games. Humphrey added two more from the line after that.

Georgia can tie South Carolina for fifth in the East with a win Saturday over Mississippi and a Gamecocks' loss at Tennessee. The Bulldogs had been 0-7 in SEC road games on the season and hadn't won at Auburn in the last six trips dating back to 1994.

The Tigers, who missed their final six shots, are tied for last in the West with Alabama. They have dropped three in a row.

Gaines, who made just 2-of-8 shots, and Terrance Woodbury each scored 11 points for Georgia. Woodbury also had eight boards. Jackson has started the past three games for the Bulldogs and emerged as a strong inside presence.

The players remained upbeat, if perhaps not realistic.

'We were walking toward the locker room and Sundiata is saying, 'Keep this up in the SEC and in the NCAA tournament',' Felton said. 'That's the kind of eternal optimism that this team has continued to play with.'

Auburn was led by its two seniors in their final home game. Frank Tolbert had 12 points while Prowell added 11 and seven rebounds before missing his last chance.

'I thought it was a good look, but it went in and out,' Prowell said. 'It was real disappointing. I wanted to go out on a good note.'

Rasheem Barrett added 10 points, five assists and four steals.

Tolbert's two free throws were Auburn's only points over the final three minutes after they briefly went up 52-51. The Bulldogs shot 49 percent while holding Auburn to 34.

'We just couldn't make open shots,' Tolbert said. 'I think that's the big key in this game. If we could have made our open shots, I think we could have come out of this game with a victory.'

The Tigers also made just 6-of-31 3-pointers and struggled after Georgia switched to a zone defense.

'We've got to put the ball in the bucket because we can't manufacture anything easy,' Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said. 'So we have to put the perimeter shots up. We're not going to beat anybody with 6-of-31.'

Gaines had hit a 3 with 6 seconds left to give the Bulldogs a 30-27 halftime lead. They had trailed by as many as 11 points in the half, but Auburn scored just six over the final 11 minutes.

'It feels real good to get the win,' Humphrey said. 'It's a real confidence booster, especially going into the SEC tournament.'