TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Jared Harper drove for two late layups and Chuma Okeke had 17 points and 14 rebounds to lead Auburn to a 66-60 comeback victory over rival Alabama on Tuesday night.
The Tigers (21-9, 10-7 Southeastern Conference) rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit to complete a season sweep of the Tide (17-13, 8-9), but this one had much more drama than the 21-point blowout at Auburn Arena.
Samir Doughty’s 3-pointer gave Auburn a 60-55 lead, its largest of the game until the final seconds. Then Alabama’s Herbert Jones answered with a layup and delivered a pass to Tevin Mack in the corner for a tying 3-pointer, making it 60-60 with 1:40 to play.
The Tide couldn’t score again.
Harper darted to the basket for a layup and another Auburn lead with 1:09 left. Kira Lewis Jr. lost control of the ball on a drive and Harper dribbled away most of the clock before once again heading for the basket with 18 seconds left. Doughty intercepted a pass and made two free throws with 13 seconds left.
Harper, who scored 16, and Okeke both produced 11 points in the second half to lead the Tigers’ rally. Okeke matched his career-high of 14 rebounds. Auburn staged the come-from-behind win, its third victory in a row, despite an off night from leading scorer Bryce Brown. Brown was just 2 of 10, all from 3-point range, for seven points.
Lewis led the Tide with 13 points while Jones scored 11 off the bench and Mack had 10. John Petty Jr. had eight points and nine rebounds.
Auburn wiped out a 13-point deficit with an 18-2 spurt that included two stolen inbounds passes. J’Von McCormick’s basket with 9:21 left gave Auburn its first lead since the opening minutes and Anfernee McLemore followed that with a dunk.
After Harper hit a layup, Okeke swiped an inbounds pass and quickly backed up for a 3-pointer from the corner.
Alabama had led 36-23 after Petty hit a pair of free throws 30 seconds into the second half.
Alabama: Failed to finish off what would have been a big win for its NCAA Tournament hopes. Had won eight of the last nine meetings at Coleman Coliseum. Committed six turnovers in a 6:32 span during Auburn’s second-half comeback and 19 overall.
Auburn: Has won three straight. Entered the game in a five-way tie for the SEC’s No. 4 seed, which comes with a double bye in the league tournament. Had 22 points at the half, the team’s lowest first-half total of the season.
Auburn hosts No. 5 Tennessee on Saturday. The teams shared the SEC regular season title a year ago.
Alabama visits Arkansas in its regular season finale.
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