Auburn heads into what should be a pretty lathered up Tuscaloosa two days from now, and so it’s only appropriate that we look back on the most recent matchups between the two rivals on the hardwood. Although Bruce Pearl has gotten the better of Avery Johnson in their only year facing each other, the series is deadlocked at five wins apiece over the past five seasons. The Tigers do have the edge in humility, with our SGA president actually showing up when he’s called on at Coleman Coliseum, and that puts Auburn on top over the past few years.
1/21/17 - Auburn W 84-64
This was an alright game. If I remember correctly from listening on the radio (and confirmed in watching the above video), Austin Wiley (RIP) threw down about fourteen dunks and Pat Keim hit a buzzer-beater three that pushed the final margin of victory out to 20 instead of just 17. Auburn scored 54 in the second half as Avery Johnson deemed it one of the worst defensive halves of basketball he’d ever seen. Hehe.
2/4/17 - Auburn W 82-77
This one was fun as well, mainly because Auburn got hot from three and didn’t seem to have any business staying in this game, but they won anyway. The Tigers hit 15-27 from downtown, and I distinctly remember shot after shot of Avery Johnson on the sideline grumbling when the Tide actually played good defense but a long-range bomb saved Auburn at the end of the shot clock. Too bad for him.
1/19/16 - Auburn W 83-77
This was the Cinmeon Bowers show, as he finished the game with 20 points and 18 rebounds, with Kareem Canty adding 25 of his own after going 5-8 from three, and the Tigers took advantage of a ton of Alabama fouls, going 28-40 from the free throw line. This was Bruce Pearl’s first win over Alabama, coming in his third try.
2/27/16 - Alabama W 65-57
I remember being on the broadcast for this one as Retin Obasahan tore us up in the second half and Alabama erased a double-digit deficit. This game illustrates the shock that many Auburn fans have at the fact that we’re such a good team at free throws — Auburn went 12-27 at Coleman Coliseum in an eight-point loss. Unbelievable.
1/24/15 - Alabama W 57-55
This game wasn’t any fun, as again, Auburn lost a big lead and Alabama won on a tip-in five five seconds to play. Auburn led 44-35 and looked in control, but hit just three threes and committed twelve turnovers in the loss.
2/17/15 - Alabama W 79-68
Alabama outscored Auburn 46-32 in the second half to take the win in this one, and it started a six-game losing streak for the Tigers in Bruce Pearl’s first year. I honestly don’t remember anything about this game, but K.T. Harrell and Antoine Mason combined for 45 points and got no help from anyone else. Cinmeon Bowers posted 14, but the rest of the Tigers combined for nine points, including just five off the bench.
1/30/14 - Auburn W 74-55
We find ourselves all the way back in the final year of Tony Barbee’s tenure (loose term) on the Plains, and thank goodness he was able beat Alabama every now and then. Chris Denson and K.T. Harrell combined for 55 points (they were the SEC’s top scoring duo at the time), and Auburn shot nearly 50% from the floor despite hitting just two threes all game.
However, this game was more infamous for something that didn’t happen instead of a win that did happen. As is tradition, the SGA President from the school that loses the Iron Bowl travels to the Auburn/Alabama basketball game at their rival’s campus and sings their fight song while presenting the winners with the Foy-ODK Sportsmanship Trophy.
It’s funny that a trophy that literally has the word “Sportsmanship” in the name resulted in the Bama SGA President refusing to travel for the game because there was some wintry weather earlier in the week. Nevermind the fact that the team, support staff, and fans showed up from Tuscaloosa.
Ain’t gonna be any snow this year. Just rain.
3/1/14 - Alabama W 73-57
This one was truly the Tony Barbee bon voyage party, getting run in Tuscaloosa. Not pretty, and totally expected. After scoring 32 points in the first meeting of that season, Chris Denson was held to just six and that alone probably provided the difference in the game. Barbee was fired eleven days later after Auburn lost to South Carolina in the first round of the SEC Tournament.
2/3/13 - Auburn W 49-37
This was one of the more bizarre ballgames I think I’ve ever seen. One, the score. Alabama went scoreless for more than nine minutes in the second half, but that came only after the Tide led 23-13 at halftime. Auburn outscored Bama 36-14 in the second half, dominating as much as you can in a game where you only score 49.
What’s even more bizarre about this game is that it was the only win — the only win — for Auburn in its final seventeen games of 2013. Auburn went 1-16 down the stretch, losing to everybody except Alabama.
2/26/13 - Alabama W 61-43
One of those sixteen losses came in Tuscaloosa at the end of February, in a game that mirrored the first meeting that year for the first half. Alabama led 23-16 at the intermission, but limited Auburn to its lowest point total of the season with a good second half that followed. Rob Chubb led the way for the Tigers with 13 points, and Auburn mailed it in from the start, hitting just six shots in the first half.
So, there you have it. Each team’s gotten five wins over the past five years, and there are a surprising number of harmonies between some of these victories for either side. Let’s just hope that there’s no harmony for Alabama at home on Wednesday, as Auburn will try to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to fifteen games in a row.