Auburn rolls over Tulsa into NIT quarterfinals
AUBURN, Ala. (AP)—The Auburn Tigers had no trouble slipping into the NIT quarterfinals for the first time.
Rasheem Barrett scored 17 points and the Tigers cruised to a 74-55 victory over Tulsa on Friday night in the second round despite Korvotney Barber’s foul trouble.
DeWayne Reed added 12 points for the Tigers (24-11), who matched the 1999-2000 team for the second-most wins in school history.
Auburn will face the Baylor-Virginia Tech winner in next week’s quarterfinals. The Tigers hadn’t made it this far in five previous NIT trips, winning only two games in all.
Tulsa (25-11), the Conference USA runner-up, shot just 34 percent and committed 18 turnovers.
The Tigers scored frequently on drives, but also didn’t have much trouble finding decent looks against the nation’s top 3-point defense. Auburn made eight of 21 3-pointers against a team allowing opponents to hit only 27 percent from beyond the arc.
Frankie Sullivan had 10 points. Reed also had five rebounds, five assists and five steals for Auburn.
Justin Hurtt scored Tulsa’s first 10 points and finished with 16. Ben Uzoh added 13 points and nine rebounds but also committed seven turnovers.
Tulsa, which won its second NIT title in 2001, had cut an 18-point deficit down to 59-49 on a basket by Uzoh with 4:12 left.
Barrett then made 1-of-2 free throws and the rebound was saved out to Tay Waller for his third 3-pointer to halt the comeback attempt. Reserve Larry Williams hit another 3 in the final seconds to give Auburn its largest margin.
Auburn won easily despite only 13 minutes from leading rebounder Barber. Barber picked up two fouls in the opening four minutes of each half and managed nine points but only two rebounds.
The Tigers also contained Tulsa’s 7-foot star Jerome Jordan, who was 2-of-7 for four points against a team with no starter over 6-7. He did have 10 rebounds.
Both teams had been on hot streaks. Tulsa had won eight of its last nine games while Auburn has 11 wins in its past 13 outings.