March 6, 2010
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Tay Waller scored 22 points and DeWayne Reed added
17 but Alabama defeated Auburn 73-61 in the regular season finale at Coleman Coliseum on Saturday. Waller became the first player since All-America Wesley Person in 1994 to score 20 or more points in five straight games.
The Tigers will be the SEC*s fifth seed and play fourth-seeded Florida in the SEC Tournament first round on Thursday at 6:30 pm Central in Nashville*s Bridgestone Arena.
Brendon Knox picked up his fourth foul with 16:49 to play in the game and the Tigers down 38-33 and went to the bench. Knox, who scored 21 points in 25 minutes in the win vs. Mississippi State on Wednesday, played only 15 minutes and had six points.
"We never got anything going offensively," said Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo. "My fears came true right away as Knox had two fouls, three fouls and four fouls quickly. We need to have him. It is hard to explain how one game he can look so good and the next one not. I know he was frustrated with that. He just doesn't do a good job playing with fouls. We got hurt inside. I though (Tony) Mitchell hurt us in there, and (Chris) Hines hurt us in there. They got good production out of those guys at three and four.
"We didn't shoot the ball particularly well. I thought at the half, we didn't play very well offensively but played pretty well defensively and were only down one with us not making shots and turning the ball over a little bit. We never got anything going in the second half, and that is something that has been a problem for us on the
Trailing 38-37, Auburn only scored nine points in 11 minutes to trail
58-46 as the Tigers were only shooting 5-of-20 from the field in the second half with 3:26 remaining. The lead never dipped below double digits the rest of the way as Alabama pushed its lead out to as much as 71-55.
"It was a very tough loss," said Waller. "We couldn*t even get a lot of layups going. It was just one of those games where we struggled offensively. It was a very physical game because both teams were playing great defense. It was just one of those games where our shots weren't
Frankie Sullivan sank a pair of free throws to give Auburn a 30-29 lead, the Tigers' first since opening the game with a 6-0 lead on a pair of Waller and Reed 3-pointers. Anthony Brock sank a shot in the lane with six seconds remaining to help the Crimson Tide regain the lead.
Mitchell led Alabama with 16 points while Mikhail Torrance had 13 points, 12 rebounds and six assists and Hines had 13 points. Sullivan only had five points, Johnnie Lett four and Lucas Hargrove three.
Sullivan and Hargrove went only a combined 2-of-7 shooting from the field. Waller, who has been on a torrid shooting streak making 27-of-42 3-pointers in his previous five games, shot only 8-of-21 from the field and 4-of-12 from 3-point range.
Auburn only shot 35.5 percent from the field and 7-of-25 from 3-point range while Alabama went 49.1 percent from the floor, but only 4-of-17 from behind the arc. The Crimson Tide outshot the Tigers 15-of-20 to
10-of-16 from the foul line and outscored Auburn 44-28 in the paint and
17-8 in second chance points.
Auburn fell to 15-16 overall and 6-10 in the SEC while Alabama improved to 16-14 overall and 6-10 in the SEC. The Crimson Tide earns the Western Division fourth seed by virtue of South Carolina winning the tiebreaker over Georgia as the Gamecocks split with Kentucky while the Bulldogs lost both meetings with the Wildcats.
It marks the second straight season Auburn and Florida have met in the SEC Tournament as the Tigers defeated the Gators 61-58 in last year*s second round in Tampa. The Auburn-Florida winner will play Western Division Champion Mississippi State at 6:30 pm Central on Friday.