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11 Days to Tip-Off - Bryce Brown

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What a day this was in Auburn, Alabama!

NCAA Basketball: South Carolina at Auburn John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

If the Auburn-Tennessee game from last year is my favorite Auburn game that I attended as a student, this game we’re gonna talk about today is #2 on the list. It was the regular season finale in the 2017-2018 with Auburn hosting South Carolina, a team who had beaten Auburn a few weeks earlier on the same day in which Auburn lost Anfernee McLemore for the season. Auburn had lost 2 straight coming into this one and needed this one to clinch at least a share of the SEC Regular Season Championship.

This was Ryan Sterritt’s last home game as a student and so we and a few of my other friends made it a point to get in line really early to make sure we got to our usual spots in the Jungle. We had started sitting directly across from the Auburn bench for the LSU game and I stayed through the duration of my time in Auburn. (Whoever is there this year has big shoes to fill).

It was also the last home game for one of the student managers and good friend of mine and Ryan’s, Thomas Northcutt. You may remember he wrote about his experiences as an Auburn manager on this site at the end of last year. I’ll explain more of why I’m mentioning this as we get into this later today. But this is more about Bryce Brown’s outstanding 3-point barrage to fend out the Roosters and clinch a SEC Regular Season Championship to let’s get on with it.

Total Points: 29

Date: March 3, 2018

Opponent: South Carolina

Final Score: Auburn 79 South Carolina 70

Bryce was 9-15 from the field, 8-12 from 3-point range and 3-4 from the free throw line. Auburn started this game really slowly trailing 25-11 and 26-15 early. Bryce would remain scoreless for nearly 14 minutes before making a pair of free throws with 6:14 left. On South Carolina’s next possession, Bryce would get a steal and convert 1-2 from the free throw line but hadn’t made a shot yet. I remember thinking that if Bryce can get 1 3-pointer to go down, look out.

With 4:51 left in the 1st half, Bryce got his 1st 3-pointer to go down pulling Auburn to within 26-21. Bryce would hit his 2nd 3 pointer about 90 seconds later to bring Auburn with 1 at 28-27. South Carolina would score 4 in a row before Bryce made another 3-pointer to make it 32-30 with 2 minutes left. Bryce made a 4th 3 47 seconds later to go into the locker room with 15 points in the 1st half as South Carolina led 37-35 at halftime.

So back to my story regarding Thomas, I’m sure many of you have seen the fatheads that people make of various things at the games. Well, for this game, a fathead was made for Thomas and at halftime, Ryan and I got a hold of it and we had it for the 2nd half of the game.

In the 2nd half, the teams went back and forth early with Bryce driving into the paint 3 minutes and making a floater in the lane to tie the game at 3 with 17 minutes. It was his only 2 of the game but with him shooting that thing from way downtown the way he was, that was quite alright.

With 15:36 left, Auburn would take the lead (for good) as Bryce connected on his 5th 3-pointer of the afternoon to give Auburn a 46-43 lead. 90 seconds later, Auburn converted another fast break into another Bryce 3 to put Auburn up 49-43.

South Carolina wouldn’t go away as Auburn’s lead fluctuated from 4-7 for the next 8-10 minutes. With 5:24 left, Bryce hit his 7th 3 of the game to put Auburn up 64-55 and South Carolina called a timeout, which led to the playing of “Party Till We Die”, an Auburn student section favorite.

You may also remember this game as what I like to call it “Confetti-Gate” with somebody setting off the confetti a bit prematurely. Auburn led 73-61 with 1:39 left and confetti began falling to the floor leading to a delay as it was removed from the floor. I remember thinking about to some of the games I’ve watched in the past where teams have blown 12 point leads with a minute left and I’m not gonna lie, I got really nervous. Within 38 seconds of the delay, South Carolina had pulled within 6 with a 1:01 left making for some anxious few moments. But order would be restored as Mustapha Heron would throw down a dunk on the fastbreak and Bryce would hit one final 3-pointer with 22 seconds left as Auburn was able to hang on and close out South Carolina 79-70.

SEC Regular Season Champions! To think what this team overcame throughout the season, seeing Bryce have a game like this in order to win a championship was extremely special. War Damn Eagle indeed!

Tomorrow at #10, we look back at one of the biggest shots in the early days of the Bruce Pearl era!