ATHENS, Ga. — Freshman Sharife Cooper had 28 points, five rebounds, 12 assists and two steals and Auburn never trailed in its 95-77 win over Georgia on Wednesday night.
Cooper, a five-star recruit who was cleared to play by the NCAA about 90 minutes before Saturday’s 94-90 loss to Alabama, is averaging 27 points, 4.5 rebounds, 10.5 assists and 2.5 steals in two games.
“Sharife Cooper was the best player on the court," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "If you're open, he's going to find you. He's going to give you easy ones."
Devan Cambridge scored 14 points for Auburn (7-6, 1-4 Southeastern Conference), which snapped a four-game skid. JT Thor, Allen Flanigan and Jaylin Williams had 11 points apiece, and Jamal Johnson added 10. Williams and Cambridge each had five of the Tigers' 14 blocks — the most in a game by a Division I team this season.
Williams and Cambridge hit back-to-back baskets to cap a 13-3 run that gave Auburn a 10-point lead about 7 minutes into the game. Georgia (7-4, 0-4) scored the last five points of the the first half and opened the second with a 7-0 spurt to pull within 45-41, but the Bulldogs missed their next seven shots.
"A major difference. Like, that's what we've been waiting for is a true point guard," Cambridge, who scored 14 points, said of Cooper. "He makes me look 10 times better, and he's going to find everybody. He's very unselfish."
The Tigers scored 22 of the next 25 points to make it 67-44 with about 11 minutes to go and Georgia trailed by double figures the rest of the way.
Freshman K.D. Johnson had 21 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and four steals for the Bulldogs. The 6-foot-1 guard, who was Georgia's top-rated recruit in the class of 2020, did not play in the first 10 games of the season due to academic issues.
Sahvir Wheeler added 19 points, five assists and four steals for Georgia, and Toumani Camara scored 12 points. Both players fouled out in the closing minutes.
Georgia has lost four in row.