No. 4 Auburn holds off rival No. 24 Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Freshman Jabari Smith scored a season-high 25 points and Allen Flanigan made four straight free throws in the final 54 seconds, lifting No. 4 Auburn to an 81-77 victory over rival No. 24 Alabama on Tuesday night.
The Tigers (15-1, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) lost all of a 14-point lead before managing to avoid becoming the third Top-5 team to lose on the night. They pushed their win streak to 12 games in the rivals' first Top 25 matchup in 35 years.
Smith’s 3-pointer gave Auburn a 73-59 lead with eight minutes left. Then Alabama (11-5, 2-2) scored the next 14 and tied it with Darius Miles’ dunk at the 4:04 mark. Flanigan, who missed the first 11 games recovering from surgery on his right Achilles, iced it at the line.
Dylan Cardwell blocked a 3-point attempt after Flanigan's last two foul shots with 22 seconds left. Alabama missed its final eight shots.
Wendell Green Jr. scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half for Auburn. K.D. Johnson had 13 points and eight rebounds. Flanigan finished with 10 points.
Jahvon Quinerly led Alabama with 14 points and Jaden Shackelford scored 13, with three others reaching double figures. Noah Gurley scored 11 and Keon Ellis and Darius Miles had 10 apiece.
Auburn center Walker Kessler fouled out with five minutes left on a charge, managing just two points and two rebounds.
It was the first time since Jan. 22, 1987 the teams met when both were ranked. No. 13 Alabama beat No. 1 Auburn 88-82 at Coleman Coliseum in that one.
Auburn: Fresh from a five-spot jump in the rankings, the Tigers won in an arena where they had struggled, losing 10 of their previous 12. Auburn and Davidson are now tied for the longest current active winning streak.
Alabama: Had a 17-game win streak at Coleman Coliseum snapped. It had been the longest in 11-plus years.
Auburn had already made a big leap and could rise more depending on what happens this weekend. Stanford beat No. 5 USC 75-69 and No. 1 Baylor fell to Texas Tech, 65-62.
Auburn visits Mississippi Saturday night.
Alabama visits Mississippi State on Saturday afternoon.
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