It was an all too familiar feeling when Auburn (15-8, 4-6) blew a 15-point lead, allowing Missouri (11-13, 2-9) to tie the game at 48 in the third period. However, the visiting Tigers would rally to defeat Missouri 70-59 and get their first road SEC win.
Starting fast has not been an issue for Auburn on the road, but finishing games has been. Auburn quickly jumped out to a 16-8 lead after the first period led by guard Honesty Scott-Grayson who had eight points in the period. Auburn built on its lead in the second period with the scoring coming from a variety of players.
"We came out and played the way we wanted to play," Auburn head coach Johnnie Harris said.
Auburn led 33-21 at halftime, but second halves on the road have been Auburn’s kryptonite all season. Missouri came out of the half on fire. They made five threes in the period, shooting 60% from the field. In all, the home Tigers scored 27 points in the third period, more than they scored in the entire first half.
With the game tied at 48 with under a minute left in the third period, it felt glaringly like many other SEC road games this season - a strong first half, but an inability to finish the game. However, Auburn was determined to flip the script on Sunday afternoon.
"I loved the way my team fought back in the fourth quarter,” Harris said. “We made them guard us, and we kind of worked the ball a little bit more instead of taking quick shots. We got some really good looks and were able to knock them down, and we were able to get to the free-throw line."
Starting with 0:28 left in the third period, Auburn went on a 15-0 nothing run to take the lead. Scott-Grayson scored nine of the 15 points during Auburn’s run. Once the run began, there was not was no looking back. Auburn would win the game with relative ease.
Despite Missouir’s poor record, this game was a huge win for Auburn and should give them confidence moving forward. Coming into Sunday’s game, Auburn was on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. A loss would have been damaging to its resume. Auburn, however, took care of business.
Next up is a matchup against Kentucky back at home on Thursday night. The game will tip at 6:00 on the SEC Network and the Auburn Sports Network.