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Tip-Off Countdown: #74 Auburn 85 UAB 80

Bryce Brown, Jared Harper and Desean Murray led the Tigers to another close victory over their in-state rival!

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

December 9, 2017 - Auburn Arena

I’ve made this statement on this site but man I really hope Auburn and UAB get their series resumed really soon. All 4 of the games in this series were highly competitive and while the Tigers won 4 all games in the series, they had to earn each and every one of them.

The previous night brought a rare snowfall to Auburn but that didn’t take away from a fired up Jungle with Auburn’s in-state rival coming to town, coinciding with the last home game before Finals/Winter Break.

Early in the contest, Desean Murray and Jared Harper set the tone.

Desean Murray made a 3 on the game’s first possession which kicked off an 18-4 run to start the game. Jared Harper couldn’t miss. Jared made 3 3-pointers and scored 13 of Auburn’s first 18 points of the game, all in the first 5 minutes.

Bryce Brown would take it from there in the 1st half. He would score 15 straight points for Auburn, as he connected on a trio of 3-pointers as Jared did to start the game. Harper, Brown and Murray scored Auburn’s first 38 points of the game.

Bryce Brown would make 2 more 3s to finish the 1st half with 23 points, on 5-6 shooting from 3-point range. Auburn led 47-40 at halftime.

Desean Murray made some big baskets throughout the 2nd half with UAB continuing to hang in the game. However, with 5 minutes to go, UAB had closed to within 2 at 69-67.

Auburn did most of their damage in the last 5 minutes from the free throw line but with 1:36 to go, Auburn led 78-75. Jared Harper went 1-2 from the line, Auburn got an offensive rebound, missed the putback but Malik Dunbar was there to follow the 2nd miss to put Auburn up 5. After a UAB 3 on the other end, Dunbar would find himself in the right place at the right time with another offensive rebound and putback layup to put Auburn up 82-78 with 33 seconds left. A trio of Jared Harper free throws later and Auburn escaped with a 5-point win at home to win their 6th straight game.

Bryce Brown scored 23 of his 27 points in the 1st half and finished 6-9 from 3-point range. Jared Harper scored 21 points while Desean Murray had 18 points and 7 rebounds. Malik Dunbar, who made his first career start, scored 9 points and 6 rebounds. The Tigers won this game without Mustapha Heron, who missed the game with back spasms.

Here are the highlights!