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Tigers Pull Away Late, Beat George Mason

Auburn improves to 6-1 with the win.

NCAA Basketball: Auburn at Dayton David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn started hot and finished hot as the Tigers beat back a feisty George Mason team 79-63 to improve to 6-1 on the season. The win at Auburn Arena gets the homestand started the right way as Auburn begins a three-game stretch on the Plains.

The Tigers jumped out to a 22-2 lead just eight minutes in, which came after a 16-0 run to start the game. Six different players scored in that stretch for Auburn, and the Tigers held a double-digit lead as they neared halftime. At the break, it was 39-28 in favor of the home team with Auburn shooting better than 50% from the floor.

However, the Patriots battled back to begin the second period, and went on a 24-10 run to start the half. Otis Livingston’s three for George Mason put them on top for the first time all game at 52-49 with 13:50 to play in the ballgame.

Trailing by three, Jared Harper hit his first three of the game to tie it back up for Auburn, and then Chuma Okeke tipped a ball in to retake the lead. Seven straight free throws for Auburn established a 65-54 lead, and even though George Mason cut the deficit back down to four, Harper’s second and third threes of the game pushed the margin to an insurmountable number. Auburn closed out at the foul line and won by sixteen in the end.

Mustapha Heron led the Tigers with 19 points, Bryce Brown added 16, and Jared Harper finished with 12. For George Mason, Jaire Grayer poured in 18 points, with Javon Greene adding 17 off the bench.

Auburn will stay at home for the next two contests, as Gardner-Webb visits Auburn Arena on Wednesday night, then next Saturday UAB comes to town. The Tigers now sit at 6-1 overall with six games left in the non-conference portion of the schedule.