Auburn snaps 16-game SEC losing streak with win over Alabama
How do you rebound from the worst Southeastern Conference losing streak in school history? How about a 19-point victory over your in-state nemesis?
That's what Auburn (9-9, 1-6) did over Alabama (9-11, 3-4) Thursday night at Auburn Arena.
The basketball version of the Iron Bowl was claimed by Auburn on the shoulders of Chris Denson's career-high 32 points and KT Harrell's 23. The 74-55 win would snap the Tigers' 16-game conference losing streak.
"I told the guys this whole week, let's not think about wins and losses," Auburn coach Tony Barbee said via AL.com. "I'm proud of the guys and happy for them that they were able to finish somebody off."
The two guards, combining for the Tide's total score, gave the Tigers momentum from start to finish. Auburn never gave Alabama the opportunity to close in for a similar last-minute win like the previous conference games that have haunted the Tigers for the last month.
"Tonight, I think [Denson and I] did a good job being aggressive and making plays," Harrell said. "That's what we have to do for this team."
Only one player scored double-digit points for Alabama: Trevor Releford with 15. But the in-state rival isn't hiding from the defeat.
"We don't have any excuses," Alabama head coach Anthony Grant said.
Although Auburn lost the rebounding battle 37 to 30, the Tigers were more efficient shooting from the floor, connecting on almost 50 percent of their shots while the Tide managed only 35.8 percent.
Auburn will host Georgia (10-9, 4-3) Feb. 1 before going on a two-game road trip to play South Carolina (8-12, 1-6) Feb. 5 and LSU (13-6, 4-3) Feb. 8.