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Tip-Off Countdown: #6 (11) Auburn 79 Arkansas 76 (OT)

The Legend of the 55 Jersey Continues

NCAA Basketball: Auburn at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

February 4, 2020 - Fayetteville, Arkansas

Long live the #55 Jersey!

So you may remember back in the 2018-2019 season, Horace Spencer had to wear the #55 jersey during the final 2 minutes of the game after a hard foul bloodied up his original #0 jersey. Upon re-entering the game, he made a tough shot in the paint on the first possession to send Auburn Arena into a frenzy.

In this game, J’Von McCormick’s #5 jersey got ripped so bad that he had to put on a new jersey.... that jersey was #55. And J’Von came to life and brought Auburn back from another 2nd half deficit.

But how did we get there?

First of all, the Tigers were coming off an emotional win over Kentucky in a landmark weekend for the program. The Tigers had to put that game behind and travel to Bud Walton Arena, a place that hasn’t been too friendly to Auburn over the years and play a Razorbacks team that was improving under new coach Eric Musselman.

And it was another chance for Auburn to make history.

Samir Doughty got the Tigers going scoring Auburn’s first 8 points on the evening. He would knock down 3 3-pointers in the first half leading Auburn with 13 points.

Auburn, in theory, would catch a break as the Razorbacks announced that Isaiah Joe would not play moments before tip-off. However, the Tigers struggled with their 3-point defense as the Hogs shot 6-12 from 3 in the first half compared to Auburn’s 4-16. Despite this, the Tigers would go into the locker room up 34-32 at halftime.

The lead would change several times early in the 2nd half but after a 9-0 run midway through the 2nd half, Arkansas led 59-50 and would lead by as much as 11, 63-52 with 7:40 to go.

During this sequence, J’Von McCormick would get his jersey ripped that would force him to change jerseys.

J’Von had just 4 points at the time of the incident but would soon return in the #55 jersey a new guy. McCormick’s first 3 of the game cut the Arkansas lead to 8, with 5:30 to go. The Tigers would go into the paint for buckets from Isaac Okoro and Anfernee McLemore and then after a pair of free throws from McCormick, the Tigers finished off a 12-1 run with a layup with 2:15 to go to tie the game at 66. After Arkansas took the lead back, McCormick would knock down a 3 to give Auburn a 69-68 lead with 1:43 to go. McCormick had 10 points in the final 5:30 of regulation.

Arkansas went 1-2 from the free throw line with 36 seconds to go and each team had a chance to win it in regulation to no avail and we went to Overtime tied at 69.

Issac Okoro’s bucket halfway through Overtime was Auburn’s only basket in the extra session as Auburn got it done from the free throw line going 8-9 from the charity stripe. Samir Doughty knocked a pair of free throws down with 9 seconds left and the Razorbacks missed what would have been a tying 3 as Auburn won another close game, this one in a place that has usually been hard to win in for Auburn.

And oh by the way, personally, I’m wrong a lot of the time so pardon me while I rehash one of those times that I was right. (Check the score prediction to see what I’m talking about).

Now that I have that out of the way: Samir Doughty led the Tigers with 23 points on the night. J’Von McCormick finished with 16 points, 12 of those in the #55 jersey, and also had 6 rebounds. Isaac Okoro had 14 points and 7 rebounds. Anfernee McLemore had 11 points and 10 rebounds off the bench with 10 points and 9 rebounds coming from Danjel Purifoy.

Auburn won this game despite giving up 40 points to Mason Jones.

Here are the highlights!

And I leave you today with this: