Jan. 9, 2010
Box Score |
AUBURN - Devan Downey scored a game-high 33 points to lead South Carolina to an 80-71 victory over Auburn in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum Saturday in the SEC opener for both teams. Brendon Knox scored a career-high 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting for the Tigers while DeWayne Reed added 19 points and eight assists and Lucas Hargrove 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Auburn (9-7, 0-1) went on a 9-2 run to tie it at 52-52 with 10:06 to play, but South Carolina scored eight straight points to take command. Downey, who scored 23 second half points on 7-of-11 shooting, scored 17 of his points in the final 10 minutes of the game.
"My fears came true in this game," said Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo. "Devan Downey was just unbelievable. We tried everything against him - doubling him, zoning him, doubling and screening him. We guarded it in every which way you can guard it. He beat it every which way you can beat it. Tonight he was just unbelievable. Unbelievable. He was a one-man wrecking crew."
The closest Auburn would get the rest of the way was seven points. The Tigers shot 44.6 percent from the field but only 2-of-15 from 3-point range and 11-of-21 from the foul line compared to the Gamecocks' 44 percent shooting (11-of-25) from 3-point range and 13-of-17 from the free throw line.
Auburn outscored South Carolina 52-26 in the paint while the Gamecocks nearly equaled the Tigers in shooting 45.2 percent from the floor.
The Tigers scored the first seven points of the game, but the Gamecocks tied it at 7-7 for the first of seven ties in the opening 20 minutes to go along with five lead changes. After South Carolina (10-5, 1-0) tied it, the lead was never more than three points by either team the rest of the half.
Leading 32-29 at intermission, South Carolina scored the first four points and kept the Tigers at bay until they tied it at 52.
"We had some turnovers at crucial times," said Lebo. "Lucas had three and lost the advantages, but we got the crowd back in the game. We had three in a row, and then had a 2-on-1 that we didn't handle too well. We had two transition turnovers that led to points. They had a bunch of people making threes out there. You attribute those to Downey having to help a little bit when he gets into the crease."
Knox added seven rebounds while Frankie Sullivan chipped in 10 points, five rebounds and five steals. Sam Muldrow had 12 points and eight rebounds for South Carolina while Brandis Raley-Ross added 11 points and Austin Steed 10 points and six rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench. Downey went 4-of-9 from 3-point range.
"He's a great player," said Hargrove on Downey. "He had it going tonight. That's pretty much the end of the story."
Auburn plays at No. 16 Tennessee (11-2, 0-0) in the Vols' SEC opener on Thursday at 6 pm Central on ESPN2 in Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee plays host to No. 1 Kansas on Sunday prior to playing the Tigers.