AUBURN, Ala. (WIAT) – Auburn never trailed Wednesday night. When Alabama tied the game in the final minute to force overtime, the Tigers didn’t panic. They scored the first eight points in the extra period and made enough plays down the stretch to pull out a 95-91 victory.
It was almost like this Auburn team has been in that spot before.
Maybe it’s because they have. This was the fourth overtime game in the last five games for the Tigers, and with Wednesday’s victory, they are now 4-0 in those games and 5-0 on the season when the game goes to overtime. It was also the seventh straight win for Auburn who exacted its revenge from an earlier loss at Alabama last month.
“Typically, when you play Alabama, it’s all about the rivalry,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. “It’s all about Auburn and Alabama, it’s about the Iron Bowl, it’s about two schools in the state that compete. This one wasn’t about that. It was about Auburn trying to stay alive in a championship race.”
No player was more impactful than Auburn senior Austin Wiley. The Alabama native, playing in this rivalry for maybe the last time, finished with a season-high 18 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the floor. He also pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds, one shy of his father Aubrey’s career mark at Auburn, and also matched a career-high with five blocked shots.
“In our family, we have to beat Alabama,” Wiley said. “It’s special to be able to do that my senior year.”
Wiley’s biggest bucket of the night came in the final minute of overtime when he threw down a two-handed slam to make it a two-possession game and extend the lead to 93-88.
The Tigers started red-hot as they jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the first four minutes. Senior Anfernee McLemore, starting just his third game this season, knocked down two early 3-pointers and scored the first eight points for Auburn. He finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Alabama battled back using the 3-pointer, but it was still 44-41in favor of the Tigers at the half. The Crimson Tide made an SEC record 22 shots from beyond the arc for the game.
Freshman Isaac Okoro started to take over in the second half and had a team-high 19 points before going down with an injury at the 1:44 mark in regulation. The crowd chanted his name as he was helped off the court, and though he would not return, he still finished with 19 points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block in 30 minutes of action.
In overtime, it was senior Samir Doughty who got Auburn going with four of the team’s first six points. Doughty poured in 18 points in all and added seven rebounds. It was his seventh straight game in double figures and 19th game with 10 or more points this season.
Freshman Devan Cambridge made it five Tigers in double figures Wednesday as he chipped in 10 points and made a pair of 3-pointers.
With the win, Auburn improved to 22-2 on the season and is still in first in the SEC at 9-2. The Tigers will travel to Missouri on Saturday. The game is scheduled for 5 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPN2.
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