After Buzzer Beater Comeback Against LSU Auburn Looks for Payback Against Tide

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

After Buzzer Beater Comeback Against LSU Auburn Looks for Payback Against Tide

There was a different feeling from Auburn basketball’s showdown versus LSU than last week’s take down of the Kentucky Wildcats. The showdown with Kentucky brought fanfare that accompanies Blue Blood teams and with it came College Gameday, a first for Auburn. The Kentucky game was the primetime event and though it was a hard-fought contest, Auburn walked away with a nearly double-digit win. The Tigers survived a mid-week struggle on the road before LSU was on deck.

Unlike the Kentucky game, it was largely ignored by the media as Duke at North Carolina drew the headlines. The 11AM game didn’t receive near the hype, despite featuring two Top 20 teams in a huge battle for first place in the SEC. Of course, the LSU loss to Vanderbilt just days before surely took a lot of the luster from the matchup. Yet that didn’t stop Auburn’s faithful from doing what they’ve done since Bruce Pearl’s arrival on the Plains. No Gameday, no fanfare, no problem. In the early hours of Saturday morning, the line outside Auburn Arena stretched around the building. 

That’s about where the similarities to the Kentucky game end.

Where Auburn strolled to a comfortable win against the ‘Cats last Saturday, it took an overtime buzzer beater by point guard J’Von McCormick to beat LSU. It was Auburn’s second overtime win in back to back games, third in four games and the fourth OT game this season. Auburn, somehow, is 4-0 in overtime, a statistic that is unbelievable in and of itself. Perhaps the only thing more unlikely is how Auburn took down LSU, despite being down eight points in the closing minute and a half of regulation. 

Every time Auburn tried to close the gap, LSU managed to pull the lead back to eight. Following a McCormick turnover and a pair of free throws from Skylar Mays after a foul on McCormick on the change of possession, Auburn looked to be done. After all, the Tigers had been unable to make any headway on LSU despite playing well in the closing minutes. But Auburn wasn’t done. McCormick, despite criticism for his work in replacing Jared Harper, bounced back in a big way. He hit three long balls to make it a two point deficit with just 46 seconds left to play in regulation. Then Skylar Mays was pick-pocketed by McCormick and led to the game-tying layup by Samir Doughty. 

In overtime, Auburn jumped out to a sizable seven point lead but LSU stormed right back and the two traded punches until, once again, Auburn was on the ropes following an Emmitt Williams dunk on a costly in-bounds turnover gaff with just nine seconds left. Following the dunk, coach Will Wade took a timeout that likely doomed his squad.  Of course, it didn’t seem that way at the time. All Auburn had to do was inbound the ball, get fouled, and sink some freethrows. Instead, the Tigers gave the ball away and LSU made them pay. 

The crowd was shocked, but not done. Even as the slam went down, the pep band was on their feet, rallying the troops. McCormick took the pass in-bounds, drove it across half-court, cut left to open the lane, drove to the paint, but he didn’t dish the ball. Typically, Auburn’s Samir Doughty is the slasher and has been fearless in the face of tough defense at the rim. One could also expect the drive and dish to Auburn’s hot shooting wings. But, no. McCormick, who had suddenly become Auburn’s hot hand, floated one from the charity stripe and it hit the back iron before falling. The Tigers took home a 91-90 win that Bruce Pearl would later call one of the finest wins of his career. 

Despite a 30 point effort by LSU’s Skylar Mays, the duo of Auburn guards stole the show piling up 49 points, with Doughty scoring 26 of them. Austin Wiley was quiet for most of the night, but still finished with a double-double. Perhaps the unsung hero of the game was Devan Cambridge who came off the bench to score 21 points, all from downtown on 7-10 shooting. The 21 points were his first points since he scored 26 points against South Carolina five games ago. Starting wing Danjel Purifoy missed the contest due to illness and Auburn seemed to be lost early on without him. It was McCormick and Cambridge that bridged the gap. 

Alabama comes to Auburn arena Wednesday night and Auburn will hope to repay the Tide for the 20 point thrashing they received in Coleman Coliseum. Bama is on a very short bench and there isn’t a conceivable reason that the Tigers can’t take it to the Tide. That’s what makes this rivalry great because anything can happen. Tune in to the game at 6PM on ESPN2. 

Beat Bama!

The post After Buzzer Beater Comeback Against LSU Auburn Looks for Payback Against Tide appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

from Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog

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