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Tip-Off Countdown: #9 (16) Auburn 80 Iowa State 76

The Tigers capped off an undefeated season against non-conference opponents by winning their 2nd straight SEC/Big 12 Challenge game.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

January 25, 2020 - Auburn Arena

After a 4-2 start to SEC play, the Tigers took a break from SEC play to play in their first SEC/Big 12 Challenge game in 3 years. For the first time ever, Auburn welcomed Iowa State to the Plains.

The Cyclones were led by Tyrese Haliburton who like Isaac Okoro is expected to be a lottery pick in tomorrow night’s NBA Draft.

While Auburn had struggled at shooting 3s during SEC play, Auburn got off to a hot start from 3-point line in this one.

Isaac Okoro would knock one down to get the Tigers started and then was followed by J’Von McCormick, Anfernee McLemore and Samir Doughty in the game’s first 4 12 minutes as Auburn led 12-6 early.

The Tigers would open up an 11-point lead midway through the 1st half and they did most of their damage from the 3-point line, a welcome sight.

Auburn was 9-20 in the 1st half from 3 and led 42-31 at halftime. Six players had at least 1 3-pointer with McLemore leading the way with 3 made 3s in the 1st half.

The 2nd half saw Auburn only shoot 1-8 from 3 but the Tigers were able to get into the paint on a much more consistent basis.

A bucket from McCormick and then a 3-point play from Austin Wiley after a dunk gave the Tigers a 47-31 lead early in the 2nd half.

The Tigers maintained a double-digit lead and led by as much as 18 during the 2nd half but the Cyclones would make things interesting down the stretch.

But then Isaac Okoro took over.

Okoro would score 14 of his team leading 19 points in the 2nd half and had 13 of Auburn’s last 17 points in the game.

Auburn led 78-64 with a little over 2 minutes left but it got very dicey late as the Cyclones made a furious charge in the final moments as the Tigers struggled to finish this game off. The lead would be cut to 4 but the Cyclones ran out of time and Auburn survived to move to 17-2 on the season.

Samir Doughty had 18 points along with 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Danjel Purifoy and J’Von McCormick each had 11 points. Anfernee McLemore had 9 points and 3 blocks.

As for Haliburton, Auburn held him below his average to 12 points.

Here are the highlights!