Alabama survives scare, wins 55-49 against AuburnBy JOHN ZENOR, AP Sports Writer Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012
The Crimson Tide (20-9, 9-6 Southeastern Conference) hit 6 of 8 free throws down the stretch to claim its fifth consecutive victory in the in-state rivalry.
The Tigers (14-15, 4-11) kept it tight by holding Alabama to a season-low 30.4 percent shooting (14 of 30). The Tide was far more efficient at the free-throw line, making 24 of 32 (75 percent) to avoid a loss that would have looked bad on the NCAA tournament resume.
Green also collected 10 rebounds and made four straight foul shots at the end to ensure there wasn’t any late-game drama in his final home game. Trevor Lacey returned from a sprained ankle to score 10 points.
Kenny Gabriel led Auburn with 10 points and 11 rebounds but was only 4-of-13 shooting.
Noel Johnson got a rare start and scored nine points, making 3 of 6 3-pointers. He came in averaging 1.5 points and had made 4 of 15 3-pointers coming into the game.
The Tigers were without suspended point guard Varez Ward for the second straight game
The Tide overcame its offensive woes by holding its opponent to 50 points or fewer for the third time in four games.
Auburn didn’t hit a field goal over the final 6 minutes. The Tigers hit just one of their first eight free throws but Gabriel and Chubb each made a pair to close Auburn to within 49-47 going into the final minute before Green scored on a putback.
It was Green’s second game back and first start since a four-game suspension. The team’s only senior, he was honored before the game and delivered a nice farewell.
After he and Chubb swapped a pair of free throws late, the Tide forward sliced through the lane for a putback off a Lacey miss with 37 seconds left for a 51-47 lead.
Gabriel missed a quick 3-pointer after Auburn called a timeout and the Tigers were forced to foul backup point guard Ben Eblen. Eblen, who had attempted only one free throw all season, made 1 of 2.
Auburn’s struggling shooters couldn’t hit any 3s late to close the gap. The Tigers were 4 of 21 from beyond the arc (19 percent).
Neither team got much going offensively in the first half, either. The Tide held Auburn scoreless for a span of 8:11 in a 13-0 run to take a nine-point lead.
Then the Tigers finished with seven straight points, the first five from Chris Denson, to close the halftime deficit to 23-21.
Gabriel’s missed dunk at the end kept it from being tied.
Denson returned from a one-game suspension.