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Cinmeon Bowers, Kareem Canty power Auburn past Alabama
Jan. 19, 2016
Cinmeon Bowers' double-double helps Auburn beat Alabama

By Charles Goldberg
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN, Ala. -- What's the best way to follow up a huge win over Kentucky? Turn Cinmeon Bowers loose on Alabama.

Bowers scored 20 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in helping Auburn beat the Tide 83-77 Tuesday night in front of 9,121 fans in a rocking and sold-out Auburn Arena. The victory completed quite a two-game swing for the Tigers. They beat Kentucky 75-70 for the first time in forever on Saturday, then beat their biggest rival three days later.

Kareem Canty was his usual 3-point-shooting self, hitting five long-range shots and scoring 25.

But it was Bowers who filled up the stat sheet. Afterwards, he wanted to talk... defense?

"It started on defense. Defense. Rebounds," Bowers said. "I always focus on my points. That's going to come regardless, so I just locked in on defense. Coach told me go rebound the basketball."

And so he did on the way to his eighth double-double of the year, his 22nd in the last two seasons.

"It's not really a height thing. It's the will. Do you want the ball or not?"

Bowers wanted the ball.

"He was just a man, inside and out. He played terrifically," said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl.

Bowers, making his second straight start after coming off the bench the previous seven games, had his double-double with time to spare, getting it with 15 minutes left in the game.

"He has been really locked in, he's been really focused," Pearl said. "He understood why he got out of the starting lineup. And he understood why he's back in it.

"Having him out there at power forward is a good matchup for him because he can do things on the perimeter. He can guard on the perimeter and he's very powerful inside. He's at a good place right now."

"If he's making his 3-point shot," said Alabama coach Avery Johnson, "he's really tough to cover. He plays with a lot of energy."

Did somebody say hitting a 3? Canty, who suffered an ankle injury late in Saturday's win over Kentucky and wore a protective boot for two days, started and hit those five 3-pointers.

"He made one 3-pointer that is un-guardable. It was one or two steps, I think, across half court," Johnson said. "I don't think anybody in the SEC can guard that shot unless you run five guys at him."

Auburn improved to 9-8 overall and 3-3 in the Southeastern Conference heading to a Saturday night game at Florida. Alabama fell to 10-7 overall and 1-4 in the league.

Fouls were an issue. Three Alabama players fouled out. One Tiger did. Four other players finished with four fouls. But the fouls were evenly distributed by both teams most of the way.

"Just a basketball game," said Alabama's Retin Obasohan. "Officials are going to do what they do. As players, we have to do a better job handling that."

The first half was also a game of starts and stops. And wild mood swings. Auburn lead 10-2, trailed 24-14 and led at halftime 40-37.

The officials kept everybody in check. At one point the scoreboard read Alabama 16, Fouls 15, Auburn 14.

Bowers set the tone early. He hit a 3-pointer, had a nice putback and hit another 3-pointer for a 10-2 lead. A 22-4 Alabama run flipped that, but the Tigers finished strong in the final minutes for the three-point halftime advantage.

Then Canty joined the party.

"Those guys kind of put us on their shoulders," Pearl said. 

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter:


 

 

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