Auburn 76, Ark.-Pine Bluff 72
AUBURN, Ala. (AP)
The play Auburn coach Tony Barbee called in the final seconds of a tie game broke down - and it worked out perfectly.
Allen Payne hit a layup with 8 seconds left and Rob Chubb added two free throws to lead Auburn to a come-from-behind, 76-72 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sunday.
The Tigers (3-4) scored the final 11 points to rally from seven down over the final four minutes. Payne caught a long inbounds pass from Tony Neysmith under the basket and put it in for the go-ahead points after the play was initially designed to find Chubb posting up.
''My man lost sight of me and I was just jumping up and down for Tony to find me,'' Payne said. ''I just tried to finish at the rim.''
Barbee was perfectly happy with the results, if not the execution.
''What I drew up didn't work, but some of the greatest plays have come from broken plays,'' he said. ''We had a broken play, some guys didn't know their job, didn't execute. Payne made a heck of a play.''
Auburn then forced a turnover at midcourt and Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-7) had to foul Chubb, who hit both attempts from the line with 4.2 seconds left to seal the Tigers' second straight win. He had hit just one-third of his 15 foul shots coming in but was 6 for 8 in this one after some personal tutelage from Barbee.
''Coach took me aside this week after practice and said, 'Your free throws are terrible. It's time to change,''' Chubb said. ''We went through about 100 free throws, just teaching me a new routine, slowing myself down.''
Auburn is now 18-0 against Southwestern Athletic Conference teams.
The Golden Lions went up 72-65 on Terrell Kennedy's inside basket with 4:04 left. Over the next three minutes, Chubb hit a basket and 3 of 4 free throws and Payne hit two from the line to pull the Tigers even.
Then, 5-foot-10, 160-pound Josh Wallace drew a charge from the 6-6, 250-pound Kennedy to give the Tigers a shot at the go-ahead points. Payne saved the ball inbounds after a missed shot with 9.4 seconds left and Auburn called timeout to set up the final play.
Payne finished with 16 points to lead Auburn, which has won three of its last four games after an 0-3 start. Chubb added 14, Josh Langford 13 and Andre Malone 10.
Kennedy and Allen Smith each scored 19 points to lead the Golden Lions. Gavin Montgomery added 17 points and five assists. Smith had 17 points and five 3-pointers in the first half to lead his team to a 48-44 lead, nearly matching Arkansas-Pine Bluff average of 52 points a game
The game was rescheduled from Saturday to avoid a conflict with the football team's Southeastern Conference championship game appearance.
''Believe me, I'm caught up in the football hype, that's why I was there last night in Atlanta cheering my head off,'' Barbee said. ''I don't have a voice today, because I was at the game going absolutely bonkers for that team.''
The Lions were coming off a 91-63 loss at No. 11 Missouri after trailing by only two points at the half. This time they flirted with an upset of a rebuilding SEC team.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff shot 55.6 percent (25 for 45) and made 9 of 20 from 3-point range. The Lions also were outrebounded 33-24 and committed 18 turnovers.
''We made some mistakes that you can't make against a pretty good basketball team,'' Lions coach George Ivory said. ''They came out and fought hard, and I think that is what fans want to see, a good basketball game.''