Charles Barkley loved it, and so did everyone in Auburn Arena save for the few crimson-clad attendees. Auburn ran out to an 8-0 lead in the opening 72 seconds of the game, and ended up putting on a second half three-point and dunk flurry to run Alabama out of the building by a final score of 90-71.
The Tigers got revenge in the best way, shutting down John Petty (who had torched Auburn in the first meeting), and doing it short-handed as it was announced before tipoff that Mustapha Heron would be out with the stomach flu. This came in addition to the obvious absence of Anfernee McLemore after his injury at South Carolina.
Auburn started absolutely on fire with threes from Jared Harper and Malik Dunbar to take an 8-0 lead in the opening moments, and continued that efficiency to open a big lead just a couple minutes into the game.
Jared Harper from Toomer’s Corner pic.twitter.com/0lUqNtIEeo— ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@SkyeUnderwood) February 22, 2018
Alabama would tie the game late in the first half at 30-30 after going on an 8-0 run, but the Tigers ran off an 8-0 surge of their own and led 40-35 at the half. Harper led the Tigers at the half with 16 points, including a pair of long threes and an 8-9 performance from the line. Collin Sexton played well for the Tide after missing the first meeting between the two, notching 14 first half points on 6-9 shooting.
In the second half, the Auburn advantage stayed around five points for the first several minutes until Bryce Brown hit a three with twelve minutes left to give the Tigers a 58-52 lead. After that, a basket by Davion Mitchell and a jumper by Brown opened up a ten-point lead. Not long after that, a Chuma Okeke three-point play put Auburn up by twelve, and then back-to-back Mitchell threes opened up a 75-60 lead for the Tigers.
The Auburn advantage ballooned to twenty on Bryce Brown’s three-point play with 4:38 to go, then back-to-back slams by Malik Dunbar and Horace Spencer opened the 24-point lead and Auburn cruised from there for the 90-71 win.
Horace Spencer will dunk on his own teammates to make Charles Barkley happy pic.twitter.com/N84otogQic— BarstoolReags (@BarstoolReags) February 22, 2018
Jared Harper led Auburn with 21 points, but Chuma Okeke had his coming out party with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Malik Dunbar added 14 points for the Tigers, who shot 43% on the night, hit twelve threes, and went 20-26 from the floor. Collin Sexton led all scorers with 25 points.
Auburn improves to 12-3 in the SEC, and moves one step closer to winning the SEC regular season championship. The Tigers will play at Florida this weekend, with tipoff coming at 7:30 pm CST. Alabama drops to 8-7 in the SEC with the loss.
Oh, and we got that trophy back too. War Eagle.