Auburn pushed the number 16 team in the country to the final minutes, but in the end Arkansas pulled away for a 74-69 win. It was a tough loss on Senior Night for Auburn, as All-American senior Unique Thompson played for the final time in Auburn Arena. Thompson set the career rebounding record for Auburn in Tuesday night's loss at Mississippi State and turned in another strong double-double with 22 points and 18 rebounds. It was Thompson's SEC best fifteenth double-double of the season. A short-handed Auburn squad, with only eight scholarship players dressing for the game, played their hearts out for Auburn's lone senior but could not quite get over the hump against a talented Razorbacks squad. Auburn played the majority of the second quarter with only seven players after Aicha Coulibay twisted her ankle, although the freshman was able to come back and play in the second half.
The first quarter was a relatively low-scoring affair as both teams opened up the game strong on defense. Makayla Daniels made a layup with three seconds to play to give Arkansas a 14-10 lead at the end of the first period. Arkansas opened the second quarter on a roll, as they scored ten of the first sixteen points in the period to take a 24-16 lead. However, Auburn reeled off a 12-0 run to go up 28-24. Auburn still had the advantage at the half, as they led 30-29. Auburn built their lead to as much as ten in the third quarter. However, the Razorbacks were able to whittle their deficit to five as the third period came to a close, at which point Auburn led 52-47. Auburn still led at the 4:24 mark of the fourth quarter, 65-63, after a Honesty Scott-Grayson field goal. From that point on, Auburn was unable to make a field goal, as the Razorbacks finished the game on an 11-4 run.
Auburn had four players finish with double digit points. Scott-Grayson (18 points), Sania Wells (12 points), and Coulibay (10 points) joined Thompson in double figures. Auburn outrebounded Arkansas 47-29 including a 13-2 edge in offensive rebounding. Auburn only made 17 of 25 free throws (68%), while Arkansas made 16 of 20 (80%) from the charity stripe. Those eight misses proved costly in the five point loss. Auburn turned 13 Arkansas turnovers into 14 points but also gave the ball away 18 times themselves. Destiny Slocum and Chelsea Dungee led the Razorbacks with 16 points apiece. Dungee entered the evening as the SEC's top scorer with 22.5 points per game. Auburn did a great job of slowing Dungee down, as Auburn forced her into seven turnovers.
Auburn will go for their first SEC win of the season on the road this Sunday against Tennessee. That game will be the final regular season game before the start of the SEC tournament.
K.D. Johnson led the way with 19 points and Jabari Smith finished with 17. Auburn is in action next Saturday at 11:30 a.m. EST/10:30 a.m. CST against Nebraska in Holiday Hoopsgiving at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
The No. 21 Auburn Tigers basketball team defeated the University of Central Florida Knights Wednesday evening inside Auburn Arena 85-68. After losing against the Knights a year ago on the road, the Tigers successfully defended their home floor. Auburn used a strong second half to pull away, outscoring the Knights by 14.