For the second time in six weeks, Walker Kessler notched a triple-double, the Auburn defense was outstanding, and the Tigers got back into the win column by strangling Texas A&M 75-58 at home today.
Kessler hit the triple-double mark for the second time this season with points, rebounds, and blocks. His stat line for the day included 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 blocks, and he got off to a hot start blocking four of the Aggies’ first seven shots and the Tigers were off and running.
Aside from Kessler, the Auburn defense was fantastic, limiting the Aggies to just 18 first-half points and a 27% shooting day from the floor overall. Allen Flanigan turned out his best performance of the year with 16 points to lead all scorers, and Devan Cambridge turned in a day chock full of highlight reel plays with four outstanding dunks in front of a wild College Gameday crowd.
Check out all of the highlights from our win today vs Texas A&M!#WarEagle— Auburn Basketball (@AuburnMBB) February 12, 2022
Both teams began the day slowly, with each side missing the first six shots from the field, but a Flanigan layup and a Jabari Smith three back-to-back put the Tigers up 7-2 early, but Auburn led just 10-9 at the midway point of the first half. Over the next five minutes the Tigers ran up a 13-0 spurt to take a commanding lead they’d never even have threatened, and Devan Cambridge’s transition dunk moments later was the highlight of the first half.
At the break, the Tigers led 33-18, after having shot poorly but benefiting from the tenacious defense. After the half, it took just two minutes for the Tigers to push the margin to 20 points on a Dylan Cardwell slam, and exactly at the midpoint of the second half a Jaylin Williams three-pointer put Auburn on top 60-35 for the largest lead of the game.
As the game neared its final moments, Walker Kessler was sitting on a triple-double opportunity, already notching double-digit points and blocks. It wasn’t until Wade Taylor missed a free throw with 3:47 to play that Kessler added that 10th rebound to get his second triple-double in SEC play this year. Auburn put the walk-ons in for the final moments and cruised to an easy victory to improve to 11-1 in SEC play.
SEC RACE UPDATE
Auburn is sitting at 11-1, still in first place in the conference race, with the tiebreaker over Kentucky. Here’s how the next few spots fall in the standings:
2. Kentucky (10-2)
3. Tennessee (9-3)
4. Arkansas (8-4)
5. LSU (6-6)
Alabama and Florida are also tied at 6-6 in SEC play, but everyone below Arkansas is nearly mathematically out of the conference race with just six games left to play and a five-game cushion for Auburn. Kentucky remains the main threat for Auburn’s top seed in the SEC Tournament, but the Wildcats have to still play Tennessee and Arkansas, and TyTy Washington got hurt again today. Auburn’s only game against the rest of the top four comes at Tennessee at the end of February.
Auburn remains home for the midweek affair as Vanderbilt comes to Auburn Arena this Wednesday for an 8 pm CST tip-off. The Commodores are just 5-7 in the league and fell to Tennessee today.