It’s easier said than done, Bruce Pearl said, to have a good start on the road and come away with a win.
“It sounds good,” Pearl said Friday afternoon, “but the reality is if you don’t start well, you can continue to compete, claw, scratch and fight and you can still have a chance.”
In an 83-78 loss to No. 21 LSU on Saturday, Auburn would finish the first half shooting 11-for-19 from three. In the closing period, however, the visiting Tigers would finish 5-for-19.
The start had been different, with two quick 3-pointers by Anfernee McLemore that led Auburn into a 20-1 run. Despite the 16-point lead that Auburn had built, LSU finished the first half on a 28-15 run to go into halftime with a three-point deficit.
With an early start that Pearl had envisioned to earn a much-needed win on the road, Auburn would fall with two missed 3-pointers by Bryce Brown and Jared Harper toward the end of regulation.
Throughout the game, as both teams clawed and scratched, LSU took advantage of its length.
Though both teams would fight back from double-digit deficits, LSU would continue to take advantage of consistent turnovers with 31 points off of 19 Auburn turnovers.
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Compared to wins over Alabama and Florida, where Auburn finished with 13 and 10 total turnovers, respectively, the Tigers had 11 going into halftime.
Partnered with losing the offensive rebounding battle (seven to 22), Auburn (1) would allow 29 second-chance points by LSU.
Harper finished with a game-high 25 points to go along with five assists and six rebounds. Chuma Okeke completed his second double-double in four games with 12 points and 13 rebounds as Brown and McLemore each added 11 points.
Tremont Waters led LSU with 19 points on 5-for-17 shooting to complete a point-assist double-double with a game-high 10 assists. Skylar Mays added on a team-high 20 points.
Following a snapped three-game winning streak, Auburn will return home on Wednesday, Feb. 13, to play Ole Miss.
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