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No. 1 Auburn survives in a close one against Missouri, wins 16th straight

Bruce Pearl and the No. 1 Auburn Tigers traveled up to Colombia, Missouri to take on the Missouri Tigers this evening. Auburn took over the Number one ranking in the AP poll for the first time in program history yesterday after knocking off the 12th ranked Kentucky Wildcats at home on Saturday by a score of 80-71. Missouri is coming into this contest after an 86-76 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa Saturday Night. The starting five for Auburn tonight consisted of K.D. Johnson, Zep Jasper, Jabari Smith, Allen Flanigan and Walker Kessler. Missouri went with Javon Pickett, Jarron Coleman, DaJuan Gordon, Trevon Brazile, and Kobe Brown.

Auburn came out snail-paced offensively. The Tigers had some trouble getting three-pointers to fall. K.D. Johnson hit two free-throws at the 13:37 mark of the first half to end a 5:30 scoring drought. A big three-pointer from Jaylin Williams helped Auburn get rolling offensively. With 3:10 left in the first half, Auburn claimed their first lead of the night after a three-pointer from Jabari Smith to make the score 28-27. 

At the half, the score was tied up at 31. Auburn’s leading scorer was K.D. Johnson with 10 points. Auburn only had five assists as a team, Allen Flanigan led the team with two. Walker Kessler led Auburn in rebounds with four. Javon Pickett was Missouri’s leading scorer with nine points. Kobe Brown led the in assists with two. Five different players for Missouri had three rebounds apiece.

Auburn came out slow in the second half as well. Auburn was trailing by two with 10 minutes left to play. The two teams battled the whole way. With 2:47 left to play, Auburn held a narrow 50-49 lead. When the dust settled, Auburn came out on top 55-54.

K.D. Johnson ended up being Auburn’s leading scorer tonight with 17 points. Walker Kessler led the team in rebounds with 12, followed closely by Jabari Smith with 10. Wendell Green Jrsec. led the way in assists with three. Javon Pickett led Missouri in scoring with 17 points. Kobe Brown led them in rebounds with 11 and in assists with three.

K.D. Johnson was the Auburn player present in the press conference tonight. He was asked about Auburn’s defensive play improving. He answered that the team regained focus. He was also asked about what Coach Pearl said to the team. He answered Coach Pearl told them to pick each other up and keep moving. 

Bruce Pearl complimented Missouri and the effort they showed tonight. He also said K.D. is a dangerous man late in the game. Pearl was asked about what this game meant. He answered that they are going to get everyone’s best shot from this point forward. Everyone will be playing inspired against them. Then he was asked about the team’s rebounding tonight. He answered that rebounding was a big part of Auburn getting the win tonight.

Auburn will be back in action this Saturday as they welcome the Oklahoma Sooners to Auburn Arena as a part of the 2022 SEC/Big 12 Challenge. That game will tip off at 1:00 p.m. CST.

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