Feb. 23, 2011
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Box Score | Season Stats
Tuscaloosa, Ala. - JaMychal Green tipped in a Tony Mitchell missed layup with :00.3 seconds left to give Alabama a 51-49 victory in a heartbreaker for Auburn in sold out Coleman Coliseum on Wednesday. Allen Payne's desperation 70-footer then just missed as it hit off the rim.
Auburn (9-18, 2-11) jumped out to an 11-1 lead and held Alabama without a field goal for nearly the first eight minutes while forcing seven turnovers. The Tigers led 13-3 before the Crimson Tide used an 11-1 run of their own to tie it at 14 with 8:49.
The Tigers answered with a 17-2 run to take their largest lead of the game at 31-16 with 2:55 left on a Payne 3-pointer as the Crimson Tide had missed 15 of their first 17 shots from the field. Alabama scored the final nine points to trail 31-25 at halftime as Auburn shot 56.5 percent from the floor to only 22.7 percent (5-of-22) for the Crimson Tide.
"It's our offense," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "If we could have scored at all ... period, we would have been up 35 or 40 at halftime. Because we can't muster offense, it was a six point score at the halftime."
Earnest Ross, who led Auburn with 10 points, drained a 3-pointer from the corner as the Tigers extended their halftime lead to 41-29 with 11:52 remaining in the game despite being in serious foul trouble as five Tigers had three fouls or more. The Tigers held the Tide scoreless for six minutes and only five points in the first 10:40 of the second half.
Alabama (19-8, 11-2), which moved into sole possession of first place overall in the SEC, closed to within 43-38 with six minutes left. The Tide crept to within 43-41 at 4:11, and Andrew Steele tied it at 43 on a tip-in with 3:24 to go.
Kenny Gabriel, who had seven points, became the third Tiger to foul out with 2:54 left as Green gave Alabama its first lead of the game at 44-43, splitting a pair of free throws. Tony Neysmith had a turn-around bank shot as Auburn regained the lead at 45-44 at 2:31, ending an Auburn scoreless drought of 5:10 to stop a 10-0 Alabama run.
Adrian Forbes, who had seven points, was the fourth Tiger to foul out with 2:12 to go, and Green split another pair of foul shots to tie it at 45. Steele stripped Chris Denson of the ball, and Mitchell tipped in a Steele miss to put Alabama ahead 47-45 with 1:40 left. Josh Wallace tied it with two foul shots with :57.9 remaining.
"I told the guys after the game how proud I was of the way they played in a hostile environment against a team that could be the SEC Champion and be in the NCAA Tournament," Barbee said. "We had them on the ropes. I said this loss was on me. They did an outstanding job. Every foul that was called out there was a foul. There's a huge difference between playing hard and not fouling. I haven't done a good job of teaching position defense.
"I'm proud of the way they fought, and I'm disappointed in the way I coached the game. We were in the game, and I didn't do enough to get us over the hump."
Green split two more free throws for a 48-47 Alabama lead with :44.1 left. After an Auburn time out, Josh Langford's 3-point attempt rimmed in and out. Trevor Releford split two free throws for a 49-47 Alabama lead with 28.4 left. Neysmith tied it on a runner with 13 seconds remaining to set up the heartbreaking moment for Auburn following an Alabama time out with 7.6 seconds remaining."
"We just played defense and were scrappy and tough, but we broke down defensively, and that is what cost us the game," said Gabriel.
Green scored a game-high 17 points as the only Alabama player in double figures. Mitchell added eight points.
Alabama outshot Auburn from the foul line, 27-of-40 to 10-of-19 while the Tigers outshot the Crimson Tide from the field, 42.9 percent to 26.2 percent. Auburn had 23 turnovers to Alabama's 19 and the Tigers gave up 18 offensive rebounds to 14. The Tide had a 16-8 edge in second chance points.
Auburn plays host to Arkansas, who defeated No. 22 Kentucky 77-76 in overtime, on Saturday at 12:47 pm Central in Auburn Arena. The game will be televised by the SEC Network.