Auburn falls on the road to No. 21 LSU
BATON ROUGE, La. – Despite leading by as much as 16, Auburn dropped an 83-78 decision to No. 21 LSU Saturday afternoon at the Maravich Center. The defeat snapped a 3-game winning streak for the Tigers (16-7, 5-5 SEC).
Auburn buried 16 3-pointers through seven players and shot 48 percent from the floor, but was outrebounded, 47-35, including surrendering 22 offensive rebounds. LSU (19-4, 9-1 SEC) had 29 second-chance points.
“We knew the focus tonight was second-chance points and keeping LSU off the boards,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. “They do a good job of that and they did a great job of that today. Our lack of physicality was a factor. Give LSU all of the credit. They know who they are. They just threw us out of the way and killed us on the boards with 29 second-chance points.”
Jared Harper led the way with 25 points and seven assists. The junior was the second-leading rebounder and tied a career-high with six boards.
Chuma Okeke secured his sixth career double-double - his third of the season - by way of 12 points and a career- and game-high 14 rebounds.
Bryce Brown and Anfernee McLemore rounded out the Auburn contingent with 11 points apiece and combined for six 3-pointers.
Auburn roared out to a 16-point margin just before the midway point of the first half. The Tigers hit six 3-pointers en route to a 26-10 lead at the 11:02 mark.
LSU then scored 28 of the next 43 points to claw within three as Auburn took a 41-38 lead into the locker room.
LSU opened the second half on a 10-4 run to gain the lead at 48-45 and never looked back. The home team extended its lead to as much as 10, but Auburn continued to fight.
Down 77-67 with 2:39 to go, Harper scored seven of Auburn’s next nine points to make it a 3-point game.
A layup from Okeke brought the deficit down to one at 79-78 with 26 seconds left on the clock. LSU made a pair of free throws to make it 81-78.
Harper and Brown each had a chance to tie the game on the final possession, but had a pair of contested looks as both attempts did not go down.
LSU added two more free throws and took the result, 83-78. Skylar Mays led the way with 20 points, while Tremont Waters added 19 points and 10 assists. Naz Reid contributed 13 points and 10 boards.
“I like the way the kids competed,” Pearl added. “They fought through some adversity, but we did not catch up.”
Auburn returns to the court Wednesday night when it welcomes Ole Miss. Tip time in Auburn Arena is set for 7:30 p.m. CT on the Auburn Sports Network and SEC Network.