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Recap: Auburn’s comeback attempt falls short against Alabama

It is extremely difficult to win college basketball games on the road. It is even more difficult to do that in the SEC, especially against a rival.

The Auburn Tigers learned that fact the hard way on Wednesday night, falling to Alabama in Tuscaloosa, 79-75, for their first SEC loss of the season.

Auburn, much like the lighting inside of Coleman Coliseum, came out flat out of the gates in this one.

After jumping out to a very early lead, the Tigers struggled to do anything well on offense or defense for most of the first half.

Crimson Tide guards were seeing wide baskets throughout the half leading to a 47% mark from 3-point range, while Auburn’s perimeter players were trying to shoot a metaphorical bowling ball into a keyhole.

The Tigers entered the locker room trailing 44-30, but came out furiously in the second half, cutting the Alabama lead to just six within the first five minutes.

Star forward Johni Broome was the major reason why. Broome collected a third of Auburn’s 75 points on the night, grabbing 14 rebounds in the losing effort as well.

Broome’s tenacity paired with timely shots from Trae Donaldson, Chad Baker-Mazara, and Denver Jones kept Auburn’s hopes alive until the very end, but the halftime deficit was ultimately too much to overcome.

Bruce Pearl’s squad fell 79-75 in the end. The loss is Auburn’s first since December 3 against Appalachian State.

While the loss is discouraging for a team that was working on the fourth-longest winning streak in Divison 1, there were some good things the Tigers can take away from Tuscaloosa.

Auburn shot better as a team in the game, converting on 42% of its field goals compared to Alabama’s 38% mark.

The Tigers also won the turnover battle, collecting more steals and more blocks than the Tide.

Unfortunately, Auburn’s downfall came in the 3-point department, from the free throw line, and on the offensive glass.

Freshman guard Aden Holloway didn’t connect on a single 3-point attempt in the game, contributing to a 5/25 mark overall. Meanwhile, Alabama connected on 11 of its 30 3-point attempts.

Nate Oats’ team also out-rebounded Auburn by 5 and made 2 more free throw attempts. In a close game, those margins matter.

Auburn will have a few days to take in the loss before the Tigers wrap up their week in Starkville on Saturday against Mississippi State.

As for Alabama, the Tide have an opportunity to take control of the SEC when they host a mediocre LSU team on Saturday.

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Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire