Auburn Arena on Wednesday night was an electric atmosphere that had all kinds of action. Bryce Brown was in town, it was loud and ‘The Jungle’ turned orange. In an overtime thriller against in-state rival Alabama, the Tigers claimed 95-91 victory. Here are several memorable moments and takeaways from the game.
1. Alabama set two SEC Records
Despite losing the game, Alabama made history in Auburn Arena from beyond the arc. The Tide set two SEC single-game records, one for 3-point shots attempted and another for 3-point shot makes. The highest scoring offense in the SEC came into the game averaging 83 points a game, and was ranked 4th in 3-point percentage in the conference. On the other side, Auburn ranked second to last in 3-point defense. Alabama shot 59 threes on the night. Of those 59 shots, 22 of them went in. Jaden Shackleford and John Petty combined for 13 of them, and the duo ended with a combined 48 points.
2. Kira Lewis Jr. had a triple-double
Sophomore guard Kira Lewis Jr. recorded 10 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists on the evening, making him the first Alabama player to have a triple-double in 24 years. He achieved this feat in a team-leading 45 minutes played. If you do the math, that’s the entire game. While a triple-double is something that sticks out as a career moment, Lewis Jr. seemed as if his mind was focused on something else following the game.
“I don’t really think about it right now because we lost the game,” Lewis Jr. said. “Nothing really matters if you lose.”
3. Auburn had a historic night, too
On the winning side of things, the Tigers also set some marks not commonly reached. The team totaled 60 rebounds, nearly a team high for any team under Bruce Pearl. The highest mark is still 66 rebounds against Mississippi College on Nov. 14, 2018. However, the 60-rebound performance Wednesday night sits comfortably in second place for most in a game under Pearl, and was the season-high in a game.
Leading the charge on the glass was senior Austin Wiley, who totaled 17 rebounds in 31 minutes. Wiley’s 17 rebounds and 31 minutes played are both career highs for the Hoover, Alabama, native. He now has 102 rebounds on the season, second-most in the SEC, trailing only Mississippi State’s Reggie Perry who has 114. That’s not Wiley’s goal though, to lead the SEC in rebounds, his mind is on winning.
“It would be cool to lead the league in rebounding,” Wiley said. “ I just grab every one that I can to help my team win. If I can do that, I’m happy.”
4. Okoro suffered a pulled hamstring
With 1:44 remaining in the game and Auburn leading 80-78, star freshman Isaac Okoro appeared to slip while trying to make a play on the ball. He went to the ground, and stayed there. Auburn Arena held its breath as trainers helped him sit up, then stand up and walk him to the locker room. Okoro would not return. Following the game, it was revealed Okoro suffered a pulled hamstring and will be further evaluated on Thursday.
“I don't think it's anything structural,” Pearl said. “ I would just venture to say that it would take a lot, not only to injure him, but also to keep him out. So if he is out, it's because he absolutely can't go. He's just such a tough kid.”
5. Danjel Purifoy is getting healthier
After missing the previous game against LSU with an illness, Danjel Purifoy is starting to get back in the swing of things. The senior forward, who normally starts, only saw nine minutes in what would be his final game against Alabama unless the two teams match up in the SEC tournament in March.
“He’s no longer sick, but he’s obviously weak from having been sick,” Pearl said. “We’ve got to get his strength back and I really truly think he’s going to try to get a workout in tonight on his own to try and get that sweat out a little bit, so maybe he’ll feel better tomorrow."
6. Auburn and overtime: a trend
Finally, to wrap things up, Auburn basketball and overtime is a combination we’ve seen a lot lately. Out of the last five games, four of them have had to see an extra five minutes played, with one of those needing 10 minutes of extra play (Ole Miss). The game on Wednesday was the only one of the four where Auburn didn’t trail by double digits at one point in the game. In fact, Auburn didn’t trail at all in this one. The team seems oddly comfortable in overtime, though.
“I give a lot of credit to Coach D [Damon Davis],” Samir Doughty said. “I feel like when we’re in overtime it’s always an advantage for us despite our opponent because of all the work we put in in the offseason. We are built for moments like that.”
Auburn’s next challenge is a two-game road trip with games at Missouri on Saturday and one at Georgia on Wednesday. The game against Missouri has a tip off set for 5 p.m. CST and will be broadcast on ESPN2.