Auburn overcame a first-half deficit to Texas A&M and tied the game up with 14 seconds remaining. It was not tied long as an Aggie bucket with two seconds left gave them the win as the Tigers fell on the road 68-66.
"I'm proud of my kids and the way they battled," said head coach Bruce Pearl.
Led by Jamal Johnson, Auburn came to play in the second half against the Aggies. In the second half against Texas A&M, Johnson scored 17 of his 20 points.
Johnson’s 20 points are one point shy of his career-high 21, which he posted last week against Arkansas.
"You can see the advantages of being a junior," Pearl said. "He's been in the program for three years now. He worked so hard in the offseason, but he's got a leadership role on this team. That's a good thing because he's such a great kid. It's just wonderful to see."
Auburn’s only lead of the day came when they were up 2-0, but in the final two minutes, the Tigers clawed back.
Critical defensive stops in the final minutes by Devan Cambridge and Jaylin Williams put Auburn in a position to win late.
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Cambridge knocked a ball away from the Aggies, saved it from going out of bounds, and got the layup on the other end to tie the game at 64 with 75 seconds remaining.
With the Tigers down two and under 30 ticks left, Williams stole a pass at the top of the Auburn key and gave a backdoor assist to JT Thor, who threw down a dunk to tie the game again, this time at 66.
Williams, who assisted both tying buckets, finished with a team-high seven assists.
"We've got to continue to find a way to put the ball in Jaylin Williams' hands and let him make plays because he's such a good passer and a versatile player," Pearl said.
Thor scored Auburn’s first and final baskets, finishing with 10 points and five boards. Cambridge had nine points and tied for the team lead in rebounds with six.
Allen Flanigan dropped in three triples in the second half and finished with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Flanigan’s 16 points were the ninth time this season that the sophomore has posted double-digits.
He leads the Tigers in scoring, averaging 14.5 points per game.
Freshman guard Justin Powell suffered a head injury and missed most of the second half. The team said Powell will be re-evaluated upon their arrival back in Auburn.
At the end of the first half, Auburn only had two assists and was behind 33-22. Without a rhythm on offense, the team found success on the defensive end. The Tiger defense forced 14 turnovers in the first half, including nine steals and three blocks.
"It was an ugly first half, but at least we competed," Pearl said. "Even though we were down 11, offensively we played bad enough to be completely out of the game. But our kids have got better character than that, and they stayed in it. In the second half, we started to be able to move the ball a little bit better and get the ball where we wanted to get it."
Auburn (6-4, 0-2) looks to get its first SEC win Wednesday, as the team travels to Oxford, Mississippi, to take on Ole Miss.
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