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Auburn Basketball Preview/Review – Week 9 (Ole Miss, Alabama)

I think I’m running out of words to say just how good this Auburn basketball team is this year. The Tigers are riding a 10 game winning streak and sitting top of the SEC. The toughest stretch of conference is yet to come, but they have positioned themselves as serious contenders for the regular season title. Here’s a recap of their wins over LSU and Vanderbilt and a look ahead to their next two games.

Auburn 93, LSU 78

Auburn and LSU faced off in a battle of the unbeaten teams in conference play. The Neville Arena crowd had plenty to cheer about as the home Tigers took a 17 point lead into halftime. Auburn’s ability to use ten guys and get productive minutes was truly the difference. The Auburn bench combined for 49 points, a season high. Chad Baker-Mazara had a solid performance with a season high 19 points.

Holloway and Donaldson, Auburn’s point guard duo, tallied 13 and 10 points respectively. Holloway had the hot hand early, knocking down two 3s in the first four minutes, and it was Donaldson’s 3-point play in the final minutes that helped close out the game.

LSU had a late 21-3 run to cut Auburn’s lead to just ten, but it wouldn’t be enough as Auburn won by 15 points.

Auburn Head Coach Bruce Pearl praised his bench play saying, “It’s getting really obvious that our second group coming in is really effective defensively and turning people over and playing with a different level of effort and energy and effectiveness,”

With the win, Pearl moved past Cliff Ellis into second on Auburn’s career head coaching wins list with 187 wins. Joel Eaves is first with 213 victories.

Auburn 80, Vanderbilt 65

Auburn went to their favorite spot to play; Nashville, Tennessee. Auburn fans crowded Memorial Gymnasium as the Tigers faced the Vanderbilt Commodores.

This game was all about Jaylin Williams who was perfect on the night. Williams was 7-7 from the field and 5-5 on free throws. Williams would finish with 21 points.

Auburn continues to have explosive runs, this time with a 20-2 run in the first half to blow open the lead. The Tigers stepped up defensively as well, holding Vanderbilt to just eight points over the final 12:32 in the first half.

The 15-point win was Auburn’s second-largest margin of victory at Vanderbilt all-time and the largest since 1921, the first game in the series. The Tigers have now won 10 straight on the season with all 10 victories coming by 11 or more points.

Looking Ahead

Auburn’s schedule gets a little bit tougher as they face Ole Miss and then a difficult road trip to in-state rival Alabama. Ole Miss had a great start to the season, going undefeated in conference play, but the SEC schedule has brought them back to earth. The Rebels have dropped games to LSU and Tennessee, but have defeated Vanderbilt and Florida. This game will also be the return of Allen Flanigan to Neville Arena. The former Auburn Tiger transferred to Ole miss after three years with the Tigers. Tipoff is set for January 20th at 5:00 P.M CT with TV coverage on SEC Network.

The first Iron Bowl of basketball will take place January 24th at Coleman Coliseum. Alabama has started off conference play with wins, after a tough non-conference schedule that saw them fall to Purdue, Arizona, Creighton, Clemson and Ohio State. Alabama has started conference play undefeated, but face a tough task at number six Tennessee. Tipoff for that game will be at 6:30 pm CT with TV coverage on ESPN.

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