Jared Harper

Down three with 23 seconds left in the game, the Auburn Tigers had a chance to tie the game up and potentially force overtime. Two misses from guards Jared Harper and Bryce Brown, and the Tigers’ hopes of stealing a win on the road against 21st ranked LSU faded.

Auburn caught fire from beyond the arc early in the first half, starting 8-13 from long-range nine minutes through the game. The 20-1 run was capitalized by nine straight Auburn points from junior point guard as Auburn opened up a 26-10 lead roughly halfway through the first half.

While Auburn was able to hit LSU with a barrage of threes, strong play down low coupled with sloppy turnovers allowed LSU to stick around, going into halftime only down 41-38.

The LSU dominance on the offensive glass and Auburn’s lack of ball control would soon lead to Auburn’s undoing as LSU’s momentum was able to carry them in the second half. 

Facing 6-10 250-pound LSU star freshman Naz Reid without a fully-healthy Austin Wiley, Aubrun was simply outmatched in the rebounding department. LSU grabbed 22 offensive rebounds compared to Auburn’s seven while LSU’s starting frontcourt duo of Reid and Kavell Bigby-Williams combined for 22 total rebounds by themselves.

All of those LSU rebounds paved the way for 29 second-chance points for LSU — a stat that Auburn only managed to register one point in. LSU’s paint-dominance was further displayed in the Bayou Bengals 38-18 points in the paint advantage.

For the game Auburn was carried by 25 points, seven assists and six rebounds from Harper as well as the second double-double in four games for sophomore Chuma Okeke, who finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds.

For the home team, LSU was led by double-doubles for Reid (13 points and 10 rebounds) and Tremont Waters (19 points and 10 assists) coupled well with 20 points from junior guard Skylar Mays.

Aside the rebounding deficiency that Auburn showed, sloppy ball-control and careless turnovers lead to multiple LSU fast breaks that allowed them cut into Auburn’s lead in the first half and extend their own lead in the second.

With Auburn ranking near the bottom of the SEC in turnovers per game and LSU leading the conference in steals per game, one trend had to give. LSU was able to force Auburn into 19 turnovers, which ties Auburn’s second-highest total of the season (24 against NC State).

The LSU guard trio of Waters, Mays and Ja’vonte Smart came away with three steals apiece in a game where extra possessions were the key to victory.

On the season, LSU moves to 9-1 in conference play and 19-4 overall as Will Wade’s squad sits only half a game behind leader Tennessee. Auburn’s win streak ends at three as they move to 5-5 in conference play, 16-7 overall and 1-5 in non-neutral road games.

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