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Sears gets 22, plus key free throws and Alabama beats No. 8 Auburn 79-75

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Mark Sears and Alabama got another crack at a Top 10 team, and this time the result was much different.

Sears had 22 points and eight assists and made two free throws with 9 seconds left to seal Alabama’s 79-75 win over No. 8 Auburn on Wednesday night, ending the Tigers’ 11-game winning streak.

The Crimson Tide (13-6, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) moved into a tie with their rival atop the league standings. It was their first win over a ranked team in five tries this season, all of them against teams in the Top 10 at the time.

Alabama had a big rebound from a 20-point loss to No. 5 Tennessee on Saturday.

“It took a monumental effort and we were a lot tougher than we were in the game at Tennessee,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said.

Auburn (16-3, 5-1) had a chance to tie with 13 seconds left when Alabama fouled Chad Baker-Mazara on a 3-point attempt. Baker-Mazara hit the first two but missed the third, cutting the Tide’s lead to 75-74.

Grant Nelson, who had six points over the final 1:39, grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Auburn coach Bruce Pearl called two timeouts before Nelson went to the line with 12 seconds to play, but he made both.

Alabama then fouled Jaylin Williams before he could launch a potential tying 3-point try — which went off the glass and in — on the other end. He made 1 of 2 and Sears iced it at the other end.

Rylan Griffen came off the bench for only the second time this season but responded with 17 points. He made five 3-pointers, including four in a 4:19 span of the first half.

“Coach told me he wanted me to come in and do that, just come in and help us,” said Griffen, who had seven points and six turnovers against Tennessee. “Whatever role I’ve got to play to win games like that, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Nelson had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Latrell Wrightsell Jr. made his second start and had 14 points and nine boards.

Johni Broome led Auburn with 25 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots. Baker-Mazara scored 11 points. Auburn made just 5 of 25 3-point attempts (20%).

“We missed some shots that you need to make to win against a really good team on the road,” Pearl said. “I don’t know that many teams are going to come in here and win in our league. We were a team that had the ability and had a chance.”

The Tide scored the final nine points of the first half to take a 44-30 lead after trailing by as many as eight. The Tigers missed their last nine 3-pointers, but then came out of the break with their own 9-0 spurt.


Auburn: Had the nation’s fourth-longest winning streak snapped. It was the longest current streak among Power Five teams. Pearl is 2-7 at Coleman Coliseum with Auburn.

Alabama: First team to win three straight in the rivalry since the Tide did it in 2015. Heated up with 11 3s after going 4 of 21 in a loss to Tennessee.


The game had a 19-minute delay to get the overhead lights in Coleman Coliseum switched back to normal after pre-game introductions.

“They didn’t flip over from the red to the regular lights and we were trying to figure out if we could play in the dark,” Oats said.

UP NEXT Auburn visits Mississippi State on Saturday.

Alabama hosts LSU on Saturday night.

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