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GAME RECAP: Auburn 80, Texas Southern 63

A close game at halftime turns into a rout with a big second half!

NCAA Basketball: Texas Southern at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

What started as a bit of an eye-opener turned into an easy coasting win tonight at Auburn Arena as Auburn beat Texas Southern 80-63 behind a huge night from Allen Flanigan, and double digit efforts from Justin Powell and Jaylin Williams.

With the win, Auburn improves to 4-2 on the year with a three-game winning streak. The Tigers will next take on Troy this Saturday at home.

The first half was a bit of a rollercoaster affair, with Auburn building a nice early lead before faltering and letting Texas Southern take on more of the momentum. Jaylin Williams got the scoring started on the Tigers’ first possession with a short jumper, and Auburn built a 12-5 advantage after a dunk from Williams and Allen Flanigan’s first three-pointer less than four minutes in. However, the TSU Tigers, led by former LSU head coach Johnny Jones, caught up and trailed just 14-12 at the first timeout. Both sides played a close game the rest of the first half, with Auburn rebuilding a five-point edge on a dunk from J.T. Thor and a layup from Chris Moore before Yahuza Rasas buried a three to pull Texas Southern back within a bucket at 20-18.

At the under-8 timeout, Auburn led 27-24, and grew the lead to 32-24 after Stretch Akingbola’s dunk with 5:50 to play in the half. Still, the Tigers grew sloppy in the closing moments. Texas Southern got buckets from Michael Weathers and Joirdon Kari Nicholas in the final minute to take a 40-39 lead at halftime. Justin Powell led Auburn with 9 points in the first half, while Galen Alexander notched 8 for Texas Southern.

The second half began much more preferably for the Tigers, as they took the lead at the free throw line, pushing out to a 48-46 margin before things really snowballed. Two three-point plays and a three from outside by Allen Flanigan helped the Tigers establish a 61-46 edge at the 11:44 mark, and they were off and running. During that time, Auburn also got help emotionally from Dylan Cardwell, who took a huge charge and got the team and limited crowd fired up. Texas Southern would whittle the lead down to single digits a couple more times, latest at the 6:08 mark, but Auburn pulled away thanks to strong work by Jaylin Williams and Justin Powell down the stretch to win 80-63.

Auburn was able to shoot 46% from the floor, but only hit 4-23 from three-point range. However, they managed to get to the foul line quite a bit, and made good on their opportunities, going 20-32 from the stripe. The Tigers had just 9 turnovers, and also earned a bevy of second chances, with 15 offensive rebounds leading to 22 second chance points. This team is active on the glass offensively.