GAME RECAP: LSU 83, Auburn 78

Saturday, February 9, 2019

GAME RECAP: LSU 83, Auburn 78

Ugh. Another close loss in the SEC.

Auburn played its sloppiest game of the year, couldn’t hold on to the ball, couldn’t rebound on either end of the floor, and nearly took a victory at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center over #16 LSU. Instead, the good Tigers squandered a 16-point first half lead and lost 83-78 for another frustrating road loss in the SEC.

Auburn shot 48% from the floor and hit 16-38 three-pointers, but LSU forced 19 turnovers and scored 31 points off of those turnovers as they kept the Tigers at arm’s length through the second half. The Bayou Bengals also out-rebounded Auburn 47-35, and dominated the second-chance points 29-1.

The first half almost went Auburn’s way completely, as the Tigers hit 11-19 threes, and Jared Harper led the way with 14 points. Auburn led 26-10 with 11:02 left until halftime before LSU cut it to a 29-26 game, but the margin was pushed back to double-digits with barely two minutes left in the half. Leading 41-31, Auburn then allowed LSU to go on a 7-0 run that was capped by Tremont Waters’ buzzer-beater three at the end of the half. Suddenly, it was a disappointing end to the half after Auburn had hit 11 threes and now only led by a single possession.

After halftime, Auburn quickly fell behind. Two more Waters threes put LSU up 48-45, and Auburn couldn’t cut the deficit to less than two possessions because of the deficiencies on the glass and in the turnover game. LSU built a 10-point lead with 8:42 left, but Auburn would make a push late. LSU led 77-67 with 2:39 to go, but Auburn strung together a quick 6-1 run to pull within five points.

After a Skyler Mays free throw, Harper buried a long three, and then a five-second call allowed Auburn two straight possessions. A Chuma Okeke layup pulled the Tigers within a point, and after two made free throws from Mays, Auburn had two chances to tie down 81-78. Both Harper and Bryce Brown appeared to be fouled shooting three-pointers, but there were no whistles, and LSU escaped after two late free throws by Waters.

Harper’s 25 points led all scorers, and Chuma Okeke had a fantastic game with 12 points and 14 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough as LSU hit 18-26 free throws, while Auburn went just 8-13. With the loss, Auburn drops back to .500 in the SEC at 5-5, while LSU keeps pace with Tennessee in the standings as they improve to 9-1. Up next for the Tigers, it’ll be back to the friendly confines of Auburn Arena for a date with Ole Miss on Wednesday night at 7:30 pm CST.

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