March 2, 2013
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AUBURN - Kedren Johnson scored 16 points to lead three Commodores in double figures as Vanderbilt defeated Auburn 62-55 on Saturday in Auburn Arena. Chris Denson led the Tigers with 16 points.
"I saw a lot of wide open shots. I saw a lot of point blank shots at the rim," Auburn head coach Tony Barbee said. "I saw a lot of wide open threes. We collectively fought harder, collectively. I thought we were engaged. I thought we were persistent defensively, but you're not going to win many games in this league shooting 35 percent from the floor and 16 percent from the three."
Auburn shot 35.7 percent (20-of-56) from the field, including 25.9 percent (7-of-27) in the first half.
After trailing by as many as 14 in the second half, the Tigers (9-20, 3-13) trimmed the deficit down to 58-53 with 18.4 seconds remaining, but Vanderbilt continued its solid close to the game at the foul line with four straight despite Frankie Sullivan's layup at the buzzer.
The Commodores (13-15, 7-9), who entered the game ranked last in the SEC in free throw percentage at 62.3 percent, hit 11-of-13 free throws in the final 3:47.
Denson's free throw with 12:12 remaining in the first half gave the Tigers a 12-5 lead. Vanderbilt answered with an 11-4 run to tie the game at 16 with 4:45 left.
Auburn then went scoreless for more than six minutes before Denson's free throw with 3:24 to go with the Tigers leading 17-16. The Commodores took their first lead at 20-17 with 1:40 remaining before the half on a 3-pointer by Kevin Bright.
Vanderbilt outscored the Tigers 15-1 over the final 9:24 of the first half and the Tigers trailed 26-17 at the break.
Auburn broke through with a Denson layup with 16:13 remaining in the second half, ending a span of 13:39 without a field goal. The basket was followed by a Jordan Price 3-pointer to cut the Tigers' deficit to 31-22 with 14:55 to go.
Auburn pushed its run to 9-1 on a Price layup for a six-point deficit, but VU countered with a Johnson 3-pointer and a 35-26 lead with 12:48 remaining. Another 3-pointer, this one by Rod Odom, made it 40-33 in favor of Vanderbilt with 10:28 left.
After Auburn had closed to four, the Commodores responded with a 7-0 run that stretched the deficit back to 47-36 with 6:31 remaining in the game.
Rob Chubb had five points, six rebounds and three blocks. Bright added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Commodores. Henderson scored 11 points.
Auburn is in action next on Wednesday when it hosts Tennessee at 8 p.m. in the final home game of the season. The game will serve as senior night and it will be televised by CSS.