Crean dealing with family issue as Georgia preps for No. 11 Auburn
Georgia coach Tom Crean was not on hand Friday when his team left Athens for Saturday's SEC game at No. 11 Auburn.
Instead, Crean was in Detroit to be with his mother, who according to a UGA spokesman, has been very ill. Crean is expected to re-join the team in time for Saturday's game.
Assistant coach Joe Scott spoke to reporters during a teleconference Friday before the team boarded the bus to Auburn.
"You never know all the details and I can't speak for someone else, but I know it's his mom, it's his family. I think he's doing a really good job of making sure his focus is on this team, making sure we get better. At the same time, it's his mother, like you guys have heard," Scott said.
"I know it's got to be unbelievably hard. I haven't had to go through that personally, so I'm fortunate. But seeing how Tom is handling it, I think he's doing a really good job. Hopefully, in some way, our guys will see that.
"It's called life; you've got to respond to different things, be present with where you are at all times and give what you have. And in this instance, Tom's giving it all he has in the two most important areas of his life."
The Tigers (11-3, 0-1) and Bulldogs (9-5, 1-1) have something to prove Saturday.
For Georgia, it's the desire to show that their first road trip -- a 96-50 loss last Saturday at Tennessee -- was an aberration. Auburn, on the other hand, is coming off an 82-67 loss at Ole Miss.
"They played great, give them credit. We did not play well," coach Bruce Pearl told the Auburn Network.
"We had a long time to get prepared for Ole Miss so we knew what to do. Obviously, we didn't execute it. We got hit in the mouth and now we have an opportunity to respond to it."
Georgia sophomore Nicolas Claxton expects nothing less.
"We know they're a dangerous team," Claxton said of Auburn. "It's going to be hostile environment, but we're prepared. The coaching staff has done a great job of preparing us and we're ready."
Scott said there's one main lesson for the Bulldogs to take from the loss to Tennessee -- Georgia's largest SEC defeat since 1959.
"I think the main lesson ... is about ourselves," Scott said.
"It's about our identity, it's about who we are. Possibly, there was a little bit too much Tennessee the first game. For us, we've got to play a certain way, we have got be locked in in certain ways and we have to understand that's the way it's going to have to be all year."
Pearl, meanwhile, wants to see a more physical version of his team than what he saw against the Rebels. Auburn made only eight two-point baskets, unable to finish around the rim and through contact.
"I thought the physicality of the game was obviously different than what I could duplicate in practice. And the pace," Pearl said. "They out-rebounded us, and when they get 13 offensive rebounds and we have 21 defensive rebounds ... too many 50-50 balls."
--Field Level Media
Updated January 11, 2019