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GAME RECAP: #11 Auburn 91, #18 LSU 90 (OT)

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Samir and J’Von turned into the dynamic duo today.

NCAA Basketball: Louisiana State at Auburn Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Holy cow, y’all. I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Auburn trailed by double digits - again - and somehow came back to win an overtime game - again. This time it came at home against the league-leading LSU Tigers in a 91-90 affair. J’Von McCormick played the role of hero with his game-winning floater that dropped with 0.1 seconds to play, which came after his flurry of three pointers in the late stages of regulation and overtime. McCormick came within one point and one rebound of a triple-double, finishing with 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists. Samir Doughty added 26 points, and both players buried five three-pointers. Devan Cambridge’s 21 points — all from downtown — spurred the Tigers on as well as they take over first place in the SEC with an 8-2 record.

McCormick’s game-winning floating came after Auburn coughed up an seven-point overtime lead. Auburn had battled back all game long after falling behind by 15 in the first half, and trailing by 8 points with 1:26 to play in regulation. In overtime, it was the blue and orange Tigers who took the flurry to LSU, running out quickly to an 83-76 advantage thanks to back to back to back threes from Doughty and Cambridge. With 1:10 to go in the extra period, Isaac Okoro threw down a huge dunk that seemed as if it would be the icing on the comeback cake —

— but LSU fought back.

Skylar Mays went on a 6-1 run himself to pull LSU within a point at 89-88, and then Samir Doughty threw the ball away on the inbound with 14 seconds to go in overtime. Emmitt Williams got the errant ball and dunked it with 9 seconds to give LSU the lead back, and then McCormick took the inbound, went the length of the floor, and hit the game-winning floater.

The basket was reviewed for possible interference, but it stood, and LSU couldn’t concoct a final play with just 0.1 seconds remaining on the clock. With the win, Auburn improves to 21-2 on the season, and now they’re 8-2 in the SEC. The top of the standings look this way:

  1. Auburn (8-2)
  2. Kentucky (8-2)
  3. LSU (8-2)
  4. Florida (6-4)
  5. South Carolina (6-4)

Auburn will have Alabama later this week, while Kentucky should have an easier week at Vanderbilt before Ole Miss comes to visit. LSU gets Missouri and Alabama over the next week. Still, Auburn got through a stretch with the top Q1 opponents at 3-0, and that’s huge. Today certainly showed the Tigers’ resiliency, as they had to construct yet another sizable comeback.

After taking an early 12-8 lead with McCormick scoring 8 of Auburn’s first 12 points, Bruce Pearl’s team went cold. LSU, meanwhile, couldn’t miss. At one point in the first half they made 8 straight shots, and that helped result in a 15-0 lead to take a 23-12 advantage with 9:10 to go in the half. Samir Doughty quieted the run with a three of his own, but LSU took its largest edge of the game on Javonte Smart’s three to make it 30-15 with 6:47 left in the opening period. At the end of the first half, Auburn had trimmed the margin to just 12, but things felt bleak, as one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the league made 7 deep shots in the first half alone. LSU had hit 50% from the floor and out-rebounded Auburn 23-15 overall.

Austin Wiley’s absence after a couple of early fouls certainly played a part in Auburn falling behind, and he was a key piece of the comeback in the second half. With just 2 points and 4 rebounds before halftime, he finished with a double double at 10 points and 12 rebounds on the day. Another huge piece of Auburn’s eraser effort was the play of Devan Cambridge, who came off the bench to go 7-10 from downtown and post another 20-point effort to help the Tigers dominate the bench production.

Late in the second half, Auburn found itself down 71-63 with 1:26 to go. The Tigers had pushed all game long to cut what was once that 15-point deficit down to a few points, but always allowed a burst from LSU right after. Trailing by eight, J’Von McCormick hit a three to cut that margin to five, and after an LSU free throw, he hit another to pull Auburn within one possession at 72-69. Skylar Mays swished two free throws with 50 seconds left, but McCormick’s third straight three pulled Auburn within striking distance, now trailing just 74-72.

Auburn got the miss on LSU’s next possession, but McCormick couldn’t make it a 4-4 effort down the stretch, and Mays grabbed the rebound. However, Bruce Pearl drew up a fantastic defensive call, and McCormick ended up with a steal with 16 seconds left. He tossed the outlet to Doughty, and Samir put home the tying bucket with 13 seconds remaining. On LSU’s last shot, Mays’ three clanked across the iron and we headed to overtime, where McCormick’s heroics took over.

Overall, it was yet another entry into the wild conference season that Auburn’s experienced already. Earlier today, it was announced that the selection committee got together and ranked their top 16 seeds, with Auburn coming in as the top 4-seed. The Tigers are still undefeated at home this season, and they keep finding ways to win games. Against Kentucky, it was going to the line. At Arkansas it was toughness and rebounding. Today, it was three-point shooting. Auburn finished 18-44 from downtown. FORTY-FOUR THREES. I’m not sure we took that many in a single game last year with Bryce Brown and Jared Harper on the floor.

War Eagle, y’all. Make it loud for Alabama on Wednesday night. 6 pm CST tipoff. Get after it.