Jan. 9, 2013
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AUBURN – Allen Payne scored 15 points and Shaq Johnson added a career high 11 points and tied his career high with nine rebounds as Auburn defeated LSU 68-63 on Wednesday in Auburn Arena in the SEC opener for both teams.
The win breaks a streak of five consecutive losses in SEC openers for Auburn.
“One of the keys to the game I talked about with the guys with our students being back, and they were jammed in their early,” Auburn head coach Tony Barbee said. “We wanted to get off to a fast start to get them involved, the students, and they got involved. They got loud, then we got into a little bit of a rut where we didn’t execute quite as well.
“The thing we have been talking about with this team is continuing to fight, no matter what’s happening. There’s going to be adversity in the game in some form or fashion. This group is doing a great job with adversity. We got off to a hot start. They get back in the game. Second half, they come out and take a six-point lead early on, and we didn’t stop fighting. We didn’t stop fighting. So, I’m proud of the guys, the way they performed. They grinded out a win, big win.”
Allen Payne scored Auburn’s first seven points as the Tigers opened up a 7-0 lead just over two minutes into the game. A dunk by Asauhn Dixon-Tatum off a feed from Payne to give Auburn a 21-14 lead with 8:13 left before halftime.
Auburn (7-7, 1-0 SEC) went without a field goal for more than seven minutes as LSU turned a three-point deficit into a three-point lead thanks to a 12-2 run. The drought was finally ended on a Payne jumper with 1:04 remaining.
Another two by the Cincinnati-native Payne gave Auburn the lead, but Anthony Hickey put LSU (9-3, 0-1 SEC) ahead going into the half on a layup with just six seconds remaining.
Auburn used a 16-3 run to take a 51-40 lead with 8:16 remaining as it opened up its largest lead to that point. Frankie Sullivan converted an acrobatic layup for a 60-48 lead with 3:48 to go.
Sullivan, who finished with 10 points, hit a pair of free throws with 1:06 remaining for a 14-point advantage and Auburn’s largest lead of the night, 64-50. A 3-pointer by Charles Carmouche at the buzzer moved LSU to within five, 68-63.
After both teams struggled from the floor in the first half, Auburn bounced back to shoot 53.8 percent (14-of-26) from the floor after halftime. Auburn also held LSU to its lowest point total of the season (63 points).
Carmouche led LSU with 15 points, while Anthony Hickey and Andre Stringer added 13 points apiece.
Auburn is in action next on January 12 at South Carolina. Tip-off is set for 12:47 p.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.