December 16, 2017 - Birmingham
Fresh off of finals, the Tigers looked to continue their winning ways as they met up with Kermit Davis and the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in the BHam Jam at the BJCC (now Legacy Arena).
Mustapha Heron returned from missing the previous game with a back injury and set the tone from the start, converting a 3-point play 11 seconds into the game. He would put the icing on a 29-12 start with a 3 pointer with 8:14 to go in the 1st half. Chuma Okeke had a solid 1st half off the bench scoring 10 to pace the Tigers bench efforts. Heron led Auburn with 13 and the Tigers led 42-25 at halftime.
Auburn came out on all cylinders in the 2nd half starting the half on an 11-3 run to give the Tigers a 53-28 lead with 16 minutes to go. All good right?
Not exactly as this Middle Tennessee team went to work at chipping away at the the lead.
A 25-8 run by Middle Tennessee over the next 10 minutes would pull the Blue Raiders within 8 with 5:37 to go. Horace Spencer’s dunk with 4:37 to go was just Auburn’s 3rd basket over the previous 10 minutes, 2 of those scored by Horace.
Auburn made their free throws down the stretch and the Tigers were able to hold off a Blue Raiders team that got as close as 5 in the final moments. Auburn won the game despite only making 5 shots in the games final 12 minutes and going just 6-22 from 3-point range.
Jared Harper had 16 points (3-5 from 3) and 7 assists while Mustapha Heron also scored 16 points with 6 rebounds. Chuma Okeke scored 14 points and had 5 rebounds while Horace Spencer had 11 points and 7 rebounds.
Here are the highlights!