Auburn certainly showed something today, but after watching the film, the Tigers will certainly feel like they let a golden opportunity slip away.
The Tigers lost to #2 Tennessee today in Knoxville 46-43 in the most defensive-minded game you’ll see all year. Neither team was able to shoot, neither team was able to do anything on offense, and the outcome bodes well for Auburn’s prospects against the upper portion of the league despite the defeat. Johni Broome led Auburn with 11 points, while K.D. Johnson added 10 off the bench, with Josiah-Jordan James leading all scorers with 15 for Tennessee.
Auburn hit just 3-27 threes, Tennessee went just 2-21, and neither team hit above 27% field goal percentage for the game. It was a defensive standout game, and one that Auburn easily could have won had a few things gone differently.
Despite the low-scoring effort, it didn’t start out that way for the Tigers. Jaylin Williams hit an opening possession jumper and Auburn was off, building an 8-0 lead before the first stoppage. At the under-16 timeout, Auburn led 10-4, and then 12-11 at the midpoint of the first half after a Josiah-Jordan James three. The rest of the first half featured both teams chipping away at each other to find points and Tennessee built an 23-18 lead (their largest of the game thus far) before a K.D. Johnson free throw made it 23-19 at the half.
In the second period, Auburn slowly clawed back within a point at 26-25 after a pair of Allen Flanigan free throws, and then tied the game moments later on Flanigan’s three. Tennessee found some footing and built a 38-30 lead with 8:05 to play, but Auburn didn’t give up. The Tigers put together an 8-2 run to get within a 40-38 deficit, but a four-point play by Santiago Vescovi put Tennessee ahead by 6. Wendell Green buried a three with :32 to play, and Auburn trailed 44-41, and still trailed 46-43 on its final possession before Green’s last-minute three hit the front of the iron and fell off.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Auburn nearly had three players with double-doubles, but Johni Broome was the guy who got closest with 11 points and 9 rebounds. He was able to be Auburn’s most consistent weapon going 5-13 in the paint.
Auburn will stay on the road and head to College Station to visit Texas A&M on Tuesday night for a 6 pm CST tip before returning home to host College Gameday and Alabama next Saturday.