AUBURN, Ala. - The No. 3 Alabama men's basketball team outscored Auburn 25-12 over the final 9:35 to take a 77-69 victory Saturday afternoon inside Neville Arena. The Crimson Tide trailed by five points with just over nine minutes remaining in the game before beginning the comeback which secured the team's second win on Auburn's home floor in the last three years.
With the victory, Alabama remains undefeated in Southeastern Conference play and improved to 12-0 which is just behind the 1955-56 program-best 14-0 record in league play. Additionally, the Crimson Tide is now 22-3 on the season which matches the 1975-76 team for the best record in school history after 25 games played.
Freshman Rylan Griffen came off the bench to score a team-leading 16 points on 5-of-7 shots from the field and 3-of-4 from deep. Mark Sears had 15 points and six boards while Brandon Miller (13) and Jaden Bradley (12) also reached double digits in the win.
Wendell Green led Auburn (17-8, 7-5 SEC) with a game-high 24 points while Jaylin Williams added 16 in the losing effort.
HEAD COACH NATE OATS POSTGAME COMMENTS
"That is a big win, they (Auburn) played hard and were ready to go. Coach Pearl had them ready to go and their gameplan was good early and they did a great job on Brandon (Miller), but I thought we had different guys step up and I thought some of our younger guys played well. I thought Jaden Bradley played really well, Rylan Griffen was huge, hit some big shots and made some free throws when we needed them. I thought our guys showed some resilience to weather a bad shooting game from Brandon and other guys stepped up."
- The contest featured 13 lead changes and seven ties throughout.
- Auburn led for 24:56 compared to Alabama leading for 10:11 Alabama was dominant inside, outscoring Auburn 44-20 inside the paint .
- The Crimson Tide had 25 bench points led by Rylan Griffen and Nimari Burnett adding five.
- The Tide finished the contest hitting just 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) from the foul line compared to 22-of-26 (84.6 percent) for the Tigers.
- A layup by Wendell Green as time expired closed made the margin eight points, marking only the second conference game that Alabama as now won by 10 or more points this year.
After a back-and-forth opening 20 minutes, Alabama and Auburn were tied at 37-all at intermission Alabama's four freshman would score 19 of the Tide's 37 points led by Brandon Miller's eight points.
The Tide shot 62.5 percent in a half for the second time in an SEC game this season (shot 60 percent in the 2nd half vs. Vanderbilt on Jan. 31).
Twenty-four of the Tide's 37 first half points came inside the paint, while only nine came from beyond the arc Alabama limited Auburn to just 37 percent from the floor but the Tigers converted 12-12 free throws in the first half.
Auburn scored seven of the first 10 points in the second half to take a nine points in the second half to take a 44-39 lead It was one of four different five-point leads for the Tigers in the second half, however, but that's as large as Auburn's lead would get.
With the Tigers leading 59-53 with just under 10 minutes remaining, Mark Sears and Rylan Griffen would combine to score 12 of the Tide's next 14 points during a 13-3 run which game.
UA a 66-63 lead With Alabama clinging to a 68-66 lead at the 3:39 mark, the Tide went on game-ending 9-1 run to put the game away Rylan Griffen scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half.
Alabama will travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to face the Tennessee Volunteers Wednesday night The contest will tipoff at 7 p.m. ET and air live on either ESPN2 or ESPNU