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No. 12 Auburn rolls over No. 16 Bama at home in Iron Bowl of Basketball

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Jaylin Williams and Johni Broome dominated around the basket and Auburn set a program free throw record.

Not a bad way to get back at your rival.

Williams scored a career-high 26 points, Broome had 24 and No. 12 Auburn made a school-record 40 free throws in a 99-81 victory over 16th-ranked Alabama on Wednesday night to move into a tie atop the Southeastern Conference.

The Tigers (19-4, 8-2 SEC) are tied for first with the Crimson Tide (16-7, 8-2) and No. 15 South Carolina, a half-game ahead of sixth-ranked Tennessee (7-2).

“I felt like going in, this game was clearly the biggest regular-season game we’ve had this year because if Alabama gets this one they’re two games up on us and we’re probably not in the championship race,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “And we’d like to still be in it. So we put ourselves in a position where at least we’re still in it.”

The Tigers held the nation’s top scoring offense to 37% shooting two weeks after Alabama snapped its in-state rival’s 11-game winning streak with a 79-75 win in Tuscaloosa.

This time it was Auburn grabbing a 14-point lead by halftime and never relinquishing control with huge games from both big men.

The Tigers made 80% of their 50 free throw attempts.

Williams shot 8 of 13 from the floor and made nine of 10 free throws. Broome had seven rebounds, five blocked shots and two steals.

“We had the advantage on the inside obviously,” Pearl said. “We were able to handle any of their perimeter pressure and be able to get the ball into certain situations. And then they obviously just fouled us. We took advantage of that.”

Tre Donaldson had 14 points and Chad Baker-Mazara 13 for Auburn, which was ultimately able to empty the bench against its rival.

Mark Sears led Alabama with 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Grant Nelson scored 16 before fouling out with 6:05 left. Rylan Griffen added 14, including four 3-pointres. Aaron Estrada fouled out with 10 points.

“Auburn was ready to go. We weren’t,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “It’s for first place. They came out and played like it was for first place. We played like we’d still be in first place if we won, which was a little disappointing.”

“We could have separated ourselves a little bit and we didn’t.”

Auburn pushed its lead to 20 early in the second half. Alabama couldn’t trim it to single digits, even with the Tigers missing nine straight shots over a seven-minute span.

Broome scored 10 points in the final 3:30 of the first half to stake Auburn to a 55-41 lead. The Tigers had led by 14 earlier before Alabama briefly came back to take the lead.

Simpson capped the scoring with a windmill dunk after a long heave from Donaldson with 26 seconds left. Sears then worked the clock down, but never got a shot off before the buzzer.

“That was a must win,” Broome said. “They were first in the SEC, and our goal is to win the SEC.”

BIG PICTURE

Alabama: Had four players with four fouls by the 8:45 mark of the second half with two starters fouling out. Alabama was trying to win its fourth straight in the rivalry, something neither team had done since 2012.

Auburn: Remained the only SEC team unbeaten at home (12-0). The Tigers had only one turnover in the first half and five for the game. Their previous free throw record was 39 against Mississippi State in 1959.

UP NEXT

Alabama: Visits LSU on Saturday.

Auburn: Plays at Florida on Saturday.

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