It took Auburn a few minutes to get going tonight at home in front of a riotous crowd, but once the Tigers got hot, they didn’t stop. There was exactly one lead change as Auburn rolled rival Alabama 84-63 at Auburn Arena tonight to improve to 4-4 in the SEC and moved up to fifth place in the conference standings.
Auburn got huge performances from the two star guards in Bryce Brown and Jared Harper, who combined for 42 points, and the entire team enjoyed the prime shooting that only home court advantage can bring. As a group, Auburn hit 52% from the floor and 58% from downtown in tonight’s romp. It’s the fourth straight home win for the Tigers over Alabama as they get back into the form we thought we’d see at the beginning of the year.
Alabama actually jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the early going before Jared Harper hit a three-pointer for Auburn’s first field goal of the game. At the first timeout, the Tide led 9-8, but Bryce Brown was heading to the line for a chance to tie the game up on an old-fashioned three point play. Chuma Okeke’s three-pointer soon after gave Auburn a lead they’d never relinquish. The Tigers cultivated the advantage and opened up a quick 25-11 lead after threes from Brown, Harper, and Anfernee McLemore, and a dunk by McLemore to punctuate the action.
Alabama went on a good run and got as close as three points as they cut the lead to 29-26 with 6:36 to go in the first half, but Auburn regrouped. Bryce Brown’s three-pointer quickly spurred a 17-0 Auburn run, and the Tigers closed the half up 48-28 to effectively close the door on the Tide.
After halftime, Alabama would never get closer than 11 points, which came on Riley Norris’ three-pointer with 13 minutes to play. Auburn was able to control the pace and play their brand of basketball, causing turnovers and scoring nearly at will in transition and from behind the arc.
Overall, the Tigers forced 21 Alabama turnovers and scored 30 points off of those mistakes, while outrebounding the conference’s best rebounding team 31-29. Auburn scored more points from the perimeter, and even bested the Tide in the paint, thanks to 18 fastbreak points.
Bryce Brown led all scorers with 23 points, while Jared Harper added 19 for Auburn. The pair was a combined 8-13 from three-point range, while Auburn hit 13-22 shots overall from deep. With the win, Auburn’s back at .500 in the SEC, now behind South Carolina (6-2 SEC), LSU (7-1), Kentucky (7-1), and Tennessee (8-0). Up next, it’s the third straight home game as Florida comes to visit the Plains on Tuesday, with tipoff set for 8 pm CST on ESPNU. War Eagle!