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SEC Champs: Auburn wins title with 79-70 victory over South Carolina
March 3, 2018

By Jeff Shearer

AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn cut down the nets, celebrating an SEC championship after beating South Carolina 79-70 Saturday at Auburn Arena.

"The guys wanted to make history," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "Winning a championship at Auburn means a lot."

Bryce Brown scored 29 points, including eight 3-pointers. Brown hit a pair of 3s in an 8-0 run early in the second half to help Auburn gain control of a tight game.

"It's unreal. It's so unbelievable right now," said Brown, who became the 36th Auburn player to reach the 1,000-point mark. "I've got to thank the Lord for everything he's done for me. Knowing where we came from and where we are now, it just feels unreal. I'm so thankful, I'm so blessed."

The conference title is the third in program history, joining the 1960 and 1999 teams.

The Tigers (25-6, 13-5) will be the No. 1 seed in next week's SEC Tournament in St. Louis.

Jared Harper scored 18 points and had eight assists with only two turnovers in 36 minutes. Mustapha Heron scored 12, including 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. Horace Spencer scored 11 points.

"Bryce Brown got back to doing what he does," Pearl said. "If he can see it, he can make it. He was the difference for us offensively."

Auburn overcame a cold shooting start to trail 37-35 at half after South Carolina led by 14 at the 9:17 mark.

The Tigers were 1-for-15 on 3-point attempts when Brown hit the first of his four first-half 3s with 4:51 remaining.

"We had to fight through adversity," Brown said. "We had to regoup and stick together, play together and take better shots. That's all it really was."

Auburn made 5 of its last 7 deep balls in the half, with Brown hitting three in a 2:12 span pulling Auburn with a point at 34-33 with 1:13 left.

Heron's free throws gave the Tigers the lead before Frank Booker hit a deep 3 to beat the shot clock with 5 seconds left in the half.

South Carolina outrebounded Auburn 22-15 in the half, but the Tigers forced a dozen turnovers while committing only five. Auburn forced 20 turnovers for the game, leading to a 20-0 advantage in fast-break points.

Chuma Okeke led Auburn with nine rebounds. Spencer added six.

"When you hang in there on the boards, and you turn somebody over, it just speaks to the effort, and the resiliency." Pearl said.

Auburn will play Friday at noon CT in the SEC Tournament.

"To win the league wire to wire in a year where, I don't know if any of you have seen it better top to bottom, or bottom to top, is a tremendous accomplishment," Pearl said. "This championship means more in 2018 because of how great our league is."

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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