Well, it had to happen at some point. Auburn’s run as one of the last remaining unbeaten teams in the country came to an end as the Tigers fell to Memphis 82-73 at the Holiday Hoopsgiving event in Atlanta.
The Tigers 8-0 record was knocked from the ranks of the perfect as Memphis showed off an unwillingness to yield in the paint, and knocked around an Auburn team that never could get an offensive rhythm going.
Kendric Davis led all scorers with 27 points for Memphis, and despite four players in double figures, Auburn shot just 38% overall and just 25% from three. Memphis scored 50 points in the paint, and picked their spots from distance, hitting 4-11 three-pointers as they led for the majority of the contest.
Zep Jasper hit a three to open the game, and Auburn led in a low-scoring first few minutes. Keonte Kennedy gave Memphis its first lead with a dunk several minutes in, but an Allen Flanigan three put Auburn back on top 11-10 at the 14:27 mark of the first half. The next two minutes saw Memphis then run out to a 19-12 advantage, but Auburn answered. K.D. Johnson led an 8-0 run with consecutive layups to put Auburn on top by a point, but Memphis swung back. They took a multi-possession lead, but Chris Moore’s three with 3:53 remaining in the opening half gave Auburn the advantage. Memphis then pulled ahead 38-32 as we went into halftime.
The second half was largely the same, except Memphis kept Auburn at arm’s length much of the time. A jumper by Zep Jasper pulled Auburn back within four points at a 43-39 deficit, but Memphis started to run away with the game shortly after that. By the midpoint of. the second half, the lead ballooned to double digits, and it went as high as 15 points at a 69-54 mark with under seven minutes to play. Auburn was able to claw back within a couple of possessions late, but an untimely charge call on Wendell Green wiped out what would’ve been a huge three-point opportunity with a couple minutes left, and a no-call on a Chris Moore drive sent Bruce Pearl in ballistics and earned him a technical foul. Wendell Green hit a jumper as time expired, but it was too late as the Tigers fell for the first time this year.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
K.D. Johnson led Auburn with 14 points, but there really weren’t many Tigers that were able to find a true offensive rhythm. His energy helped Auburn back into it at times, but he didn’t have much help.
Auburn welcomes Georgia State to Neville Arena for a 7 pm CST/8 pm EST tip this coming Wednesday, December 14th.