It was just another Saturday night at Auburn Arena as the Auburn Tigers beat Vanderbilt 93-81 to improve to 9-1 in the SEC, and 21-2 overall. In each half, Auburn put together a strong run, pushed back against the Vanderbilt advance, and closed the door to get the win.
Bryce Brown and Mustapha Heron combined for 48 points, and each sizzled at different points in the second half as Auburn shot 17-26 (65.4%) from downtown. Jeff Roberson led all scorers with 30 points for the Commodores, but it wasn’t enough for the last-place team in the SEC to upset the league leader.
In the first half, Auburn jumped out to a quick lead just like last week’s game against LSU. The Tigers got threes from four different players in the opening minutes and built a 26-9 lead midway through the period. That lead stretched to 22 points on a Bryce Brown jumper with 6:34 to play until halftime, but Vandy began to cut into the 36-14 advantage. A 15-2 run pulled the Commodores within seven points, but a late three by Chuma Okeke gave Auburn a 45-35 lead at halftime.
Out of the intermission, the Tigers strung together a strong run to retake a 15-point lead. With Mustapha Heron’s three that made it 52-37, it began a run of 13 straight points scored by Heron. After that run ended, Bryce Brown began a run of 15 straight points, including two four-point opportunities. Once Brown’s streak ended, Malik Dunbar’s three with 9:10 to play put the Tigers on top 80-60, and things seemed out of reach for Vanderbilt. The Commodores did cut the lead to nine in the final minutes, but Auburn was too strong and kept their composure, closing out the 93-81 victory.
Brown scored 25 to lead Auburn, with Heron close behind with 23 points. Jared Harper quietly notched a double-double with 14 points and 14 assists, and Auburn set a season-high in three-pointers with 17. Overall, the Tigers shot 56.1% from the floor, and hit more threes than twos tonight.
With the win, the Tigers are 21-2 overall, and 9-1 in the SEC. Up next, Texas A&M comes to Auburn Arena on Wednesday night, with tipoff set for 8 pm CST on ESPN2.