Auburn holds off Saint Louis in the Mike Slive Invitational
BIRMINGHAM, AL - J'Von McCormick scores a career high and helps lift Auburn over Saint Louis.
On Saturday, Auburn returned to Birmingham for the Mike Slive Invitational. The Tigers came into the game as one of five undefeated teams remaining in the entire country. That streak was definitely on the line against a very good, 8-1, Billiken team.
Saint Louis caught Auburn on their heels and jumped out to a 9-0 start. It took Bruce Pearl's squad over five minutes to get their first points of the game.
After battling back, Auburn would at one point claim a nine point lead. They would finish the first half up 28-21. Rebounds were a struggle for Auburn in the first half, losing that battle 25-21.
The second half continued to consist of back and forth battles of the Tigers trying to grow a lead and Saint Louis clawing back. With 4:36 left in the contest, Isaac Okoro would take advantage of a turnover and extend Auburn's lead to 62-48. The Billiken's would not go down easy though.
Saint Louis went on an 8-0 run and pulled within six with 90 seconds to go. Five made free throws by both Samir Doughty and J'Von McCormick would close this one out from Legacy Arena as Auburn would win 67-61.
The Tigers did a good job of protecting possessions today with only seven turnovers compared to Saint Louis' 12. However, Auburn did get out-rebounded 51-45 and it showed.
After coming off a hard fought win against Furman at home, Auburn needed to find another way to win this game and it did not come from the free throw line. They shot 46% from the charity stripe.
McCormick finished as the game's leading scorer with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. He shot 7-14 from the field and 4-8 from behind the arc.
With the win Auburn moves to 9-0 while Saint Louis falls to 8-2. This is the first time Auburn has been 9-0 since the 1998-1999 season, where they started 17-0.
Auburn's next game is Thursday December 19th at home against NC State. Tip off is set for 8:00 PM on ESPN2.