It wasn’t pretty at times. There were bad turnovers, dumb shots and stupid fouls. There was cold shooting and frustrating officiating. There was premature confetti....
But like they’ve done every time this season, this team fought back. They battled back with great defense. They rallied thanks to sharpshooting. They sealed it at the free throw line. They are your 2018 SEC Basketball Champions!
It wasn’t a championship start though. Auburn opened the game shooting 3 of 22 from the field including 0-9 from three. Auburn fell down by 14 at one point and it looked like the same sad plot we have witnessed 3 out of the last 4 games was going to unfold once again.
But then the Bryce Brown show began.
Auburn’s sharpshooting junior shot himself out of a frustrating slump to lead the Tigers in a furious rally that saw Auburn take the lead with just over a minute to go in the 1st half. But for the 2nd time in 3 games, a late half prayer was answered for an Auburn opponent. Admittedly this was one a bit more realistic but still a tad ridiculous when South Carolina’s Frank Booker got off a bomb right at the shot clock buzzer to but the Gamecocks up 37-35 heading into halftime.
Brown’s hot shooting continued in the 2nd half as he buried four more three pointers on his way to 29 points on the day. After Wesley Myers banked in a long 3 to give the Gamecocks a brief 1 pt lead, Brown would respond with 8 straight and the Tigers would never trail again for the final 17:06 of the contest.
Chris Silva and Frank Booker had strong performances once again for the Gamecocks. Silva put up another double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. However, after not picking up a single foul (how the heck?) in the first half, the big man would rack up FIVE fouls in the second half with his final coming at the 3:38 minute mark. Booker was South Carolina’s leading scorer with 27 points.
Silva’s foul trouble helped open up the paint late and allow Mustapha Heron and Jared Harper to attack the basket and get to the free throw line. Harper finished with 18 points and 8 assists while Stapha added 12, most coming from the free throw line.
It hasn’t always been pretty for this team this year but every single night they have shown up with great effort and forced the other team to play a hard 40 minutes to beat them. Most couldn’t. As a result, a squad counted down and out multiple times throughout this season gets to cut the nets down and celebrate Auburn’s 3rd ever SEC basketball title. I can’t think of an Auburn team that has deserved a championship more than this squad.
HANG THE BANNER
WAR DAMN EAGLE!!!!