Auburn sweeps Alabama in men’s basketball, 82-77

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Auburn made 15 three-pointers and placed five players in double figures as the Tigers defeated Alabama 82-77 and sweep the Tide for the first time since 2009 in Coleman Coliseum on Saturday.

Ronnie Johnson scored 15 points, including 12 in the first half, while Danjel Purifoy and Jared Harper scored 14 apiece. Eleven of Harper’s points came in the second half.

Mustapha Heron scored 13 points, making all six free throw attempts, including four in the final 48 seconds. Bryce Brown scored 12 points on 4-of-5 3-pointers while dishing out three assists.

“This was a big win,” said Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl. It’s a big win for me because it’s a big win for the Auburn Family. A big win for Coach (Sonny) Smith, for our alumni and our donors who made the trip over. It’s a big win for me.”

Auburn, which went 15-of-27 (.556) from behind the arc, set a SEC season-high for made treys while being the second most made this season.

The Tigers used a 26-12 run with seven 3-pointers, including three by Purifoy and one each from Brown, Johnson, Lang and Harper, for its largest lead at 69-54 lead with 7:41 left.

“It felt great,” said Purifoy, whose hometown in Bibb County is 25 minutes from Tuscaloosa. “Before this game even started, I knew it was going to be my breakout game. I live close to here and have a lot of family at the game, and I knew that I would have to do what I was going to do in order for us to get this one.”

Auburn led 76-64 with 3:46 left before turnovers and missed free throws allowed Alabama to score 10 straight points in 1:12 to close to within 78-74 with a minute left.

Johnson scored eight straight Auburn points followed by a T.J. Dunans steal and layup to give the Tigers a 23-16 lead. Brown’s third 3-pointer of the half gave Auburn its biggest lead at 36-25 with 6:06 left in the half.

The Tide answered with an 8-0 run, but the Tigers held a 41-39 lead at the half after shooting 55 percent from the floor while making 7-of-13 3-pointers. Johnson led Auburn with 12 points at the half while Brown made 3-of-4 treys for nine points, the most in seven games.

Purifoy, who scored his most points in six games, hit two-straight 3s followed by another Johnson trey for a 54-48 Auburn lead with 11:32 remaining. Bryce hit another 3 for 57-49 lead 10:36 left.

Auburn improved to 15-8, 4-6 while Alabama fell to 13-9, 6-4. The Tide has lost only four times in the last 12 games with two of them being by Auburn.

The Tigers outshot the Tide 51 percent to 43 percent while holding Alabama to only 38 percent shooting in the second half. Alabama outrebounded Auburn 47-28 and had a 19-5 advantage in second chance points.

Braxton Key and Corbin Collins led Alabama with 17 points each while Dazon Ingram had 16 points.

Auburn plays host to Mississippi State (14-8, 5-5), who came back from a 19-point deficit to defeat Tennessee 64-59 earlier in the day, on Tuesday at 8 pm CT on ESPNU.


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