Brown's 9 3-pointers lifts Auburn past Arkansas, 90-86
Feb. 18, 2016
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Little has gone as Bruce Pearl had hoped in his second go-around through the Southeastern Conference.
For a moment, at least, Bryce Brown gave the Auburn coach a ray of hope in what has otherwise been a dismal season on Wednesday night.
With Brown scoring a career-high 27 points — all on 3-pointers — the Tigers (10-15, 4-9 SEC) put an end to a seven-game losing streak with a shocking 90-86 victory at Arkansas.
The win is the first since Jan. 19 for an Auburn team equipped with only eight scholarship players, one that entered the game as the worst shooting team in the SEC — including having shot only 31 percent during its recent losing streak.
Brown and the rest of his teammates had no such shooting woes on Wednesday, combining to shoot a season-high 61.1 percent (33 of 54) while connecting on 15 of 23 3-pointers while earning their first win in Fayetteville since 2009.
"To say that our team needed that is an understatement," said Pearl, the former Tennessee coach in his second season at Auburn. "But one thing that you can see is our kids haven't quit."
Brown was 9 of 14 on 3-pointers in the win, while TJ Lang connected on 5 of 6 shots from behind the arc and finished with 17 points — including back-to-back 3s that gave Auburn the lead for good late in the game.
Tyler Harris added 19 points, and Cinmeon Bowers had 14 points and 10 rebounds for an Auburn, which topped its previous best shooting performance (58.1 percent) of the season in a win over Northwestern State on Nov. 27.
Brown's previous career high was 20 points against Tennessee on Jan. 2, and the most 3-pointers he had hit before Wednesday was six against LSU on Feb. 2.
"I think this is one of my most pure games," Brown said. "We got in here earlier today, got a lot of shots and had a very good walkthrough. We just prepared well."
For Arkansas (12-14, 5-8), the loss was yet another in a series of disappointments in a difficult season following last year's 27-9 record and NCAA Tournament appearance.
The loss was the third straight for the Razorbacks, the first time the school has lost three in a row since 2012.
Anthlon Bell had 21 points to lead Arkansas, while Moses Kingsley added 20, but the Razorbacks had no answer defensively for the Tigers.
"They're a team that hadn't been shooting the ball very well, but they shot the ball unbelievable tonight," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. "Part of that was them, and we let them get into a nice rhythm. I'm disappointed in our defensive effort."
After trailing by as many as seven points in the first half, the Razorbacks used a 15-2 second-half run to open a 61-52 lead — capped by a dunk by Bell.
However, with Bowers scoring 12 of his points in the second half, the Tigers surged back into the game. Lang hit back-to-back shots from behind the arc to give Auburn an 83-79 lead, and Brown then added his ninth 3-pointer to put the Tigers up 86-81.
Bowers added free throws in the final minute to help secure the victory.
"I really thought we were going to put them away in the second half, for sure," Arkansas point guard Jabril Durham said.
Auburn: The first half marked the first time the Tigers have topped 60-percent shooting in a half since a 34-of-52 effort (65.4 percent) against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 2013. The last time Auburn had shot more than 60 percent in an SEC game was against the Razorbacks in 2010.
Arkansas: Durham had 12 points and 10 assists for the Razorbacks, the sixth time this season the senior has finished with double digits in assists. Dusty Hannahs also finished in double figures with 18 points.
Of the several Tigers who had quality shooting performances, Land was 6 of 7 overall from the field while matching his career high with five 3-pointers. Harris also shot the ball well and finished 8 of 11 overall, while Auburn's 3-point percentage (65.2) was a season high.
Auburn hosts Mississippi on Saturday.
Arkansas hosts Missouri on Saturday.