After two straight losses and a drop to 16th in the AP Poll, Auburn got a much needed win against Vanderbilt in SEC play. The beginning of February brings a whole new challenge for Auburn, whose remaining games feature the top 6 teams in the SEC. Here’s a look back at the last two games.
Mississippi State 64, Auburn 58
Auburn’s road struggles continued in Starkville with another loss to an unranked opponent. While it seems bad, they aren’t the only ranked team that has struggled to win on the road. Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Kansas all lost as well.
The game was mostly defensive as each team had 24 combined turnovers. The Tigers shot just 33-percent from the floor which was not a recipe for success.
Coach Pearl was happy with performance, but disappointed with the final five minutes of the game. “They’re a really athletic team. Obviously, they played really good defensively. But we didn’t play well. We didn’t execute very well. Give Mississippi State credit. They did a great job.”
Johni Broome led Auburn with 14 points. Jaylin Williams had 10 points, and Denver Jones and Chaney Johnson added eight points.
The loss snaps the Tigers’ five-game winning streak in the series. It was AU’s first loss in its last three games in Starkville.
Auburn 81, Vanderbilt 54
The Tigers got back to winning ways with a 81-54 over Vanderbilt. This was their second win over the Commodores in SEC play.
Auburn’s offense was firing again, as four guys finished in double digits. Jaylin Williams scored 21 points, Denver Jones had 21 points, and Johni Broome finished with 16 points.
Jones and Williams made 7 of Auburn’s 12 three-point shots. Broome also earned his 10th double-double of the season. The Tigers outrebounded Vanderbilt 45-34 and held the Commodores to 15 field goals on 56 attempts, a 26.8 shooting percentage.
“I’ve been getting in the flow lately,” Broome said. “That’s a good thing. Hopefully I can keep it going and give my team the best chance to win.”
The schedule gets tough for Auburn moving forward. The Tigers start with a road trip to Ole Miss on January 3rd before welcoming in-state rival Alabama on February 7th. Auburn beat Ole Miss at home earlier this year by a final score of 82-54. The Rebels have been on a three-game winning streak since that game; defeating Arkansas, Texas A&M, and rival Mississippi State. They are trending in the right direction and will make it difficult for Auburn. Tip-off for the game is at 5:30 p.m CT on SEC Network.
The Tigers will also look for revenge against Alabama after losing by four in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide will play Mississippi State on January 3rd before they travel to Neville Arena. Depending on results, that game could be a chance for Auburn to tie Alabama for first place in the SEC. Tip-off for the game is at 6:00 p.m CT on ESPN2.