Five Tigers scored in double-digits, Auburn blistered from the floor, and won its twelfth straight contest, beating Arkansas 88-77 at Auburn Arena to improve to 14-1 (2-0 SEC) on the season. It’s the second straight win over a ranked opponent after beating Tennessee on the road earlier in the week, and it should result in the first appearance in the Top 25 in fifteen years for Bruce Pearl’s Tigers on Monday.
Auburn had to limp to the finish in the end as Arkansas went on a late run to get the sweat rolling for fans on the Plains, but it didn’t start out that way. The first half was a masterful display in shooting. Bryce Brown’s three on the first possession of the game set the tone as Auburn built a seventeen point lead at halftime. That only continued after the intermission as the Tigers controlled things on the way to crafting a 21-point advantage that was capped by this stunner that brought the house down.
Malik Dunbar throws down the oop pic.twitter.com/SVqjG4c8H0— ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@SkyeUnderwood) December 30, 2017
Malik Dunbar’s dunk from Davion Mitchell built the largest margin of the night, but Arkansas whittled it down. Two minutes later, the lead was just sixteen. Two minutes after that, it was down to twelve. And two minutes following that, they’d pulled within just seven at 72-65. Despite Jaylen Barford playing with four fouls, the Hogs kept within striking distance until Bryce Brown’s three that reestablished a ten point lead at 79-69.
After that, Auburn made a couple of dagger baskets, aided by five foul shots from Jared Harper, and the celebration began as the Tigers earned their twelfth win in a row, one that will surely place them in the Top 25 on Monday.
Mustapha Heron led Auburn with 17 points, Desean Murray added 15, Jared Harper posted 14, and Bryce Brown 13. Chuma Okeke chipped in 10 points off the bench, while Arkansas was paced by Barford’s 21, which led all scorers.
Arkansas drops its second straight game after losing to Mississippi State during the midweek, and will play LSU in Fayetteville on January 10th at 8 pm CST. Auburn, meanwhile, will try to keep the winning streak alive with games against Ole Miss at home (January 9th) and Mississippi State on the road (January 13th) before heading to Alabama in the middle of next week.