Auburn Uses Big Second Half Run to Defeat Alabama, 84-64
The Alabama men’s basketball team gave up 54 second half points en route to an 84-64 loss at Auburn on Saturday afternoon at Auburn Arena. The Crimson Tide, which lost for just the second time in its last eight games, allowed the Tigers to go on a 24-7 run to turn a tight game into a double-digit defeat.
“Today’s game was unlike any game that we’ve had recently,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “In our recent games, especially in SEC play, when things are closely contested, we have been the type of team that has the mental and physical stamina, and the team that makes the better decisions in the second half to give ourselves a chance to win. That didn’t happen today. This was probably the one of the worst defensive halves that I’ve seen. Give (Auburn) credit for executing on both ends of the floor more than we did. They deserved to win.”
The game was tightly contested through the first 30 minutes of play, featuring eight ties and seven lead changes. With Alabama leading 52-51 with 9:38 left to play, Auburn began its game-deciding run as it outscored the Tide 9-2 over the next 2:41 to go up 61-54. After Alabama cut the deficit to 63-59 with 5:04 remaining, Auburn scored the next 13 points to blow it open.
The Tigers’ 24-7 run lasted 6:47 and turned the score from a one-point Auburn deficit to a 16-point cushion (75-59) with just 2:31 left to play. In all, the Tide was outscored 33-12 over the final 9:38 to result in the final score.
Prior to the Tigers’ final push, neither team led by more than seven points in a back-and-forth affair. Alabama (11-7, 4-2 SEC) jumped out early to a 12-5 lead before foul trouble sidelined a pair of starters in redshirt freshman Dazon Ingram and sophomore Donta Hall, who played two and eight minutes in the opening half, respectively. However, Auburn battled back and was able to even the game at 30-30 as the teams headed to the locker room.
The Tigers (13-6, 3-4) gained their first lead of the game at the start of the second half when Auburn’s Horace Spencer hit a jumper to take a 32-30 lead. Alabama didn’t regain the lead until Ingram’s layup at the 11:43 mark gave his team a 45-44 advantage. Over the next two-plus minutes, the lead changed hands six times and was tied four times until Auburn began its game-ending run.
The Tigers were hot from the field in the second half, connecting on 52 percent from the floor (14-of-27) and 83 percent from beyond the arc (5-of-6).
For the game, the Tide shot 41 percent from the field and 29 percent from beyond the arc, while the Tigers connected on 50 percent from the floor and 62 percent from deep. Auburn finished the game 28-of-42 from the foul line, led by its freshman center Austin Wiley, who finished with 19 points and 11-of-18 from the charity stripe. As a team, the Tide went 10-of-19 from the foul line.
Freshman Braxton Key led the Crimson Tide offense with 18 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists. Riley Norris was the only other Alabama player to score in double figures with 10. Graduate senior Bola Olaniyan had one of his best games in a Crimson Tide uniform, going for seven points and 11 rebounds – eight of which were offensive boards.
Alabama will close its two-game road swing on Wednesday night when it travels to Athens, Ga., to take on the Georgia Bulldogs. That contest will tip off at 8 p.m. CT and will air on ESPNU.