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'Auburn Arena was rocking' - Tiger Trio: comebacks continue, Bryce Brown update, Horace Spencer deliver​s
The Jungle during Auburn vs Texas A&M basketball game on Feb. 7, 2018
The Jungle during Auburn vs Texas A&M basketball game on Feb. 7, 2018
Feb. 8, 2018

By Jeff Shearer

AUBURN, Ala. - First-place Auburn takes a one-game Southeastern Conference lead to Athens, Georgia for Saturday's 2:30 p.m. CT tip against the Bulldogs.

The No. 8 Tigers are looking to rebound from the season's only home defeat, 81-80 to Texas A&M Wednesday.

With seven conference games remaining, here are three takeaways from a game that left Auburn with a 21-3 record, 9-2 in the SEC.

Comebacks continue

On multiple occasions, Auburn has overcome double-digit deficits. Wednesday was no exception. Trailing by 17 early in the second half, the Tigers rallied to take the lead.

"I was really proud of our players with the way they battled back when they were down 17, and Bryce Brown was out," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "We could've folded our tent, but we didn't. This environment was just tremendous, Auburn Arena."

After four straight sellouts, Wednesday's attendance for an 8 p.m. tip was 7,631. The noise the crowd generated made a difference, Pearl said Thursday.

"Auburn Arena was rocking," Pearl said. "Our fans did everything they possibly could to pull us back. I thought our kids competed, obviously, being down 17 and giving ourselves a chance to win the game talks about our character, and the effort, the resilience, the grit of this team."

Bryce update

Auburn played the second half without leading scorer Bryce Brown, who strained his left shoulder late in the first half.

"Bryce Brown's status has not changed," Pearl said Thursday. "He is day-to-day and will travel to Georgia Saturday."



If Auburn is without Brown Saturday, Pearl said it would mean more minutes for Auburn's four remaining guards, especially backups Davion Mitchell and Malik Dunbar.

"We have eight scholarship guys if he doesn't play," Pearl said. "We're good. Staph [Heron] plays more, Davion plays more, Malik plays more, Jared [Harper] plays more. They've just all got to share the load and that's what we would do."

Horace in the clutch

Trailing by two with 10 seconds remaining, junior Horace Spencer made two game-tying free throws against the Aggies.

"He's not a senior, but he's the closest thing we have to one," Pearl said. "He's the old man in the locker room, and the old man wasn't going to let his teammates down. There was just no way.

"Give Coach Harris Adler credit for working with Horace, the patience, the relationship the two of them have. That's a guy that cares. If Auburn wants to love on somebody, love on how much Horace Spencer cares, loves Auburn, and loves this basketball program, loves his family. And has put in the time to get that stroke down.

"I look for Horace, even next year, to be able to build on that and start to do some things from the 3-point line as well. He's got a decent stroke. I had him in the game late because of his ability to defend and rebound, and tackle the ball screens and do the things he does. Together, Horace and Anfernee [McLemore] are both really effective at the five position, even though they're undersized."

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

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