Tigers Storm Back at LSU for Second Straight Win, 60-51
March 5, 2011
Baton Rouge, La. - Auburn erased a 15-point second half deficit as Kenny Gabriel and Earnest Ross each scored 16 points to lead Auburn to a 60-51 victory over LSU in the regular season finale for both teams in the Maravich Assembly Center on Saturday. It was Auburn's second straight double-digit comeback win as the Tigers came from 20 points down to defeat Ole Miss on Wednesday.
Gabriel and Ross each had double-doubles with 11 rebounds and 10 rebounds, respectively.
"It's almost ground hog day for this team," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "I tried to play mind games with them before the game and said the first half is the second half. We came out tentative. The second half, we did what we needed to do. We were aggressive and turned the heat up and took advantage of it."
Auburn (11-19, 4-12) scored the first point of the second half to trail 29-25, but LSU scored 11 straight points and held the Tigers without a field goal for the first 6:13 to take its largest lead of the game at 40-25.
From the 13:46 mark, Auburn answered with a 14-2 run to close to within 42-39 Ross split a pair of free throws after Storm Warren picked up his fourth foul with 8:10 remaining. Warren had 10 first half points and finished with 14 to lead LSU. Ross' driving teardrop in the lane made it a one point game, and then Josh Wallace made two free throws to give Auburn a 45-44 lead with 5:51 left, its first lead since 3-2.
Ross' steal and 3-point play with a layup and free throw put Auburn ahead 48-44 with 5:11 left, capping a 23-4 run in over nine minutes. Auburn held LSU without a field goal from the 13:27 mark to 3:12 left on a fastbreak layup by Warren that closed Auburn's lead to 48-46.
Gabriel hit a huge jumper just inside the foul line to give Auburn a 54-48 advantage with 1:44 to play, and the Tigers increased it from there by going 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
"The first half we got behind but in the second half, we picked it up on the defensive end and started to make shots and free throws," said Gabriel.
LSU (11-20, 3-13) opened the game leading 9-3 and extended it to 20-9 with 8:21 left in the first half. Kenny Gabriel scored 10 straight points to get Auburn to within 27-21 with 1:32 left. Rob Chubb made a conventional 3-point play with 6.2 seconds left to close the LSU lead to 29-24 at halftime.
Auburn barely outshot LSU 36.7 percent to 35.7 percent from the field while Auburn was 2-of-11 from 3-point range and LSU 2-of-15. Auburn went 22-of-30 (.733) from the foul line and LSU 11-of-19 (.579). Auburn outrebounded LSU 46-31, including a massive 28-14 edge in the second half.
Auburn won despite committing 21 turnovers while forcing 18 from LSU. Chubb added nine points for Auburn and Wallace added eight points, seven rebounds and three assists.
In back-to-back games, Auburn erased a 20-point second half deficit in its win over Ole Miss on Wednesday in the second largest comeback in school history and followed that up with the 15-point comeback victory at LSU. Auburn had earlier comeback wins this season after trailing by 19 to Mississippi State on Feb. 12 and by 17 points to Middle Tennessee State on Nov. 21.
Auburn plays in the SEC Tournament first round on Thursday at noon pm Central in Atlanta's Georgia Dome as the Western Division No. 5 seed against the Eastern No. 4. The Tigers' opponent won't be determined until after Sunday's Kentucky at Tennessee game.
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