After a make by Jared Harper at the free-throw line, Bruce Pearl’s squad couldn’t miss.
Auburn continued to rally after trailing by as many as 13 points in the second half in its 66-60 win over Alabama on Tuesday night. Chuma Okeke tied his career-high with 14 rebounds to finish off his fifth double-double of the season with a game-high 17 points.
Before Harper took and made his team’s first free-throw attempts, Auburn trailed by 12 and, coming out of the first half, was shooting 23.1 percent from three and 32.3 percent from the floor.
In comparison, the Crimson Tide shot 36.4 and 53.8 percent, respectively.
“Everything they did disrupted us,” Pearl told AL.com’s Tom Green. “Their switching bothered us. We didn’t get much done offensively; their size and length bothered us.”
Then, Auburn used an 18-2 run to regain its first lead since the game’s first basket. As the two teams traded scores up until the final minutes, Harper would cap off Auburn’s comeback victory with two layups to regain a four-point lead.
“I think I missed a couple of easy ones coming down the stretch and just being able to come in and finish was big for my team,” Harper said.
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As Samir Doughty sprinted for a steal in the game’s final moments, Auburn would earn its first win of the season after trailing at halftime.
Harper finished with 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting to pair with Doughty’s seven on 2-of-5 shooting, including a late 3-pointer that gave Auburn a five-point lead with 2:25 remaining.
Bryce Brown, who finished with 18 points in Auburn’s last win over Alabama, finished with seven points on 2-of-10 shooting. Brown missed his first six shots beyond the arc before finishing 2-for-4.
Returning home on Saturday to finish off the regular season against No. 5 Tennessee, Auburn now has an opportunity to finish as high as fourth in the SEC with the conference tournament beginning next week.
Pearl remains confident in advance of the Volunteers.
“We haven’t lost in March yet,” Pearl said. “That’s really kind of important.”
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