Auburn's brutal six-point half was so bad it's almost funny

Jeff Eisenberg

Hitting a new low can be pretty difficult for a team that has already lost at home to the likes of Presbyterian, Samford and Campbell, but Auburn pulled it off with gusto on Saturday night against LSU.

The Tigers made just two first-half buckets and trailed 32-6 at halftime.

Give Auburn credit for rallying in the second half to lose by a respectable 62-55 score, but the story of the Tigers' SEC opener will still be their staggering first-half ineptitude. Auburn committed eight first-half turnovers, missed 22 of 24 shots before halftime and endured a scoreless stretch of more than 10 minutes.

A three-pointer from Kenny Gabriel late in the first half ensured Auburn wouldn't wind up in the record books, though the six-point half still approached the worst we've seen since the advent of the shot clock in college basketball in 1986.

Savannah State set the modern record for fewest points in a half when it got outscored by Kansas State 48-4 in the second half of an 82-25 loss on Jan. 7, 2008. And Cal was nearly as bad in the first half against Notre Dame earlier this season, falling behind 21-5 at halftime in a 57-44 loss on Nov. 26.

The most bizarre aspect of Auburn's loss was that the Tigers nearly clawed all the way back in the second half.

Auburn cut LSU's 26-point halftime lead in half in the opening seven minutes of the second half and pulled within six in the closing minutes. In the process, Auburn scored 49 points in the second half, 43 more than they managed in the opening 20 minutes.

Of course, basketball the last thing on the minds of most Auburn fans with the BCS title game just two nights away. Normally Auburn basketball at least provides a few highlights between the football team's bowl game and the start of spring practice, but this year even that may be too much to ask.