March 3, 2018 - Auburn Arena
It came down to the Regular season finale for Auburn in their quest for a SEC Championship. The Tigers had fallen in their previous 2 attempts to clinch in road games at Florida and Arkansas. Meanwhile, Tennessee had caught Auburn and would share with Auburn if they won their game that afternoon.
(Although, let’s be really clear and make it known that Auburn won it outright by beating Tennessee in Knoxville back in January of that season).
This marked the final home game for a friend of the program, manager Thomas Northcutt and the Jungle actually made a face cutout in honor of it that I must share with you all here.
And shoutout to the video guys for all of the incredible game content, especially these pregame hype videos.
Unfortunately early for the Tigers, things were not going well against a team who was coming off their program’s 1st trip to the Final Four a season ago.
South Carolina jumped out to a 25-11 lead 11 minutes into the contest. Auburn was 2-15 overall from the field at that point.
Jared Harper would knock down Auburn’s first 3-pointer moments later. Auburn would go another 4 minutes before making another shot but it was that shot that really got Auburn back into the game, along with the crowd.
Bryce Brown would knock down a 3 pointer with 4:51 left in the half and despite the shooting woes, the team was down just 26-21. Chuma Okeke would make one a minute later. The last 5 minutes of the half though belonged to Bryce Brown.
Brown would knock down a trio of 3-pointers during the stretch run of the opening frame and brought Auburn back from an early 14 point deficit. South Carolina led 37-35 at half but Brown’s 15 points put Auburn in position to claim the SEC title in the 2nd half.
Auburn would get the first 6 of the 2nd half to lead by 4 early but the Roosters would regain the lead. Bryce would hit his 5th 3 of the game to put Auburn up 46-43 with 15:36 left. A 6th 3 gave Auburn their biggest lead of the game, 49-43.
Auburn would lead by about 4-6 throughout the next 8-9 minutes of the game. Bryce’s 7th 3 of the afternoon put Auburn up 64-55 with 5:24 to go.
Jared Harper would take over some of the scoring from that point. Jared would score Auburn’s next 10 points knocking down a 3, and breaking defenders ankles while scoring on layups. Things were looking great with Auburn up 73-62 with 1 and then.....
Uh-oh. Confetti already flying in Auburn Arena. Tigers lead 73-62 with 1:39 left. SEC title within reach. pic.twitter.com/1GFSQJLLjU— Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) March 3, 2018
Ummmmm.... someone jumped the gun a little bit. And to tell you the truth, my heart sank because I knew the game wasn’t over and that South Carolina was fully capable of overcoming that deficit and then we would never live this moment down.
South Carolina would cut the deficit in half in about 30 seconds and Auburn led 73-67 with a minute to go. Fortunately, Mustapha Heron, was there to save the day.
Heron’s breakaway dunk following a missed 3 from South Carolina would put the final nail in the coffin for South Carolina. It was his only field goal of the game. Bryce Brown would ensure it was over making his 8th 3 of the game in the closing seconds. Auburn wins the game. Auburn wins the SEC and led the SEC wire-to-wire. Not bad for a team who was picked to finish 4-14 in the SEC.
Bryce Brown was 8-12 from 3-point range and scored 29 for Auburn.
He also went over 1,000 points in his career that day as well. Jared Harper had 18 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds. Mustapha Heron scored 12 and was 10-10 from the free throw line. Horace Spencer had 11 points and 6 rebounds.
Here are the highlights!
And here’s some celebration moments!
Anfernee McLemore climbs the ladder for a piece. pic.twitter.com/oKXiKS1ziO— Jay G. Tate (@JayGTate) March 3, 2018
Things didn’t go well in St. Louis the following week so next up: we’re heading Dancing folks!