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Tigers Win 8th Straight, Beat Murray State 81-77

Auburn overcomes a tough road environment and tough officiating to beat the Racers.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Tournament-Auburn vs Missouri Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn beat Murray State (and the referees) tonight 81-77 as the Tigers improve to 10-1 on the season, which continues to match the best start to a season since 1999.

Murray State took a 7-0 lead right out of the gates and led 18-10 before Auburn went on a solid run that allowed the Tigers to hold a 42-36 advantage going into the locker room.

Auburn tried to mount that comeback throughout the majority of the first half despite questionable calls going against them, including a goaltending call on Horace Spencer and a Flagrant 2 that took Spencer out of the game. That only continued in the second half as the Tigers began to take a pounding from Murray State that drew fewer whistles than one might expect. During that time, Auburn fell behind as the Racers got four three-pointers from Jonathan Stark in the early minutes of the second half, but answered with long balls of their own from Desean Murray and Jared Harper to take a 72-69 lead with three minutes to play.

After Murray State had pulled within one at 72-71, Harper buried another long three, and then Desean Murray converted a basket after a steal that gave Auburn a 77-71 advantage with 1:04 to play, after which Harper made two foul shots to give the Tigers a nine-point lead in the final minute. From there, Auburn hit enough foul shots and the deficit was too much for the Racers to overcome at home.

Four of Auburn’s starters hit double figures, led by Desean Murray’s 18 points. Jared Harper finished with 17, Heron had 16, and Bryce Brown scored 15 on the night. Jonathan Stark and Terrell Miller Jr each scored 21 for Murray State.

Auburn will play UConn this Saturday, December 23rd at 1:30 pm CST at Auburn Arena. The Tigers will finish up the non-conference slate with Cornell on December 30th before traveling to play Tennessee to open up SEC play.