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Wendell Green Jr. (1) during the game between The Tennessee Volunteers and the #25 Auburn Tigers at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN on Saturday, Feb 4, 2023. Zach Bland/Auburn Tigers

Cold Shooting for Auburn Results in Close Loss on the Road

AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) -- In what was a cold shooting night for the No. 25 Tigers, it came down to the final seconds of play in hopes at a shot for overtime against the No. 2 Volunteers. The final play, resulting in a controversial no-call against the Tigers, sealed the deal for a 46-43 win for the Vols.

“This was a very disappointing loss,” said Coach Bruce Pearl. “That was a chance to knock off the No. 2 team in the country.” Pearl said his team’s effort was impressive, despite the loss.

Auburn got off to an 8-0 start offensively thanks to its strong play in the paint on both ends of the floor. Johni Broome started 3-3 from the floor and held the Tennessee big men to an 0-5 clip to start. Quickly after, the Tigers would go cold and went on to miss 18 of the next 19 shots for the rest of the half.

It was more of the same in the second half for the Tigers, as they started 0-8 until a make by Broome broke the streak. Only five players scored for Auburn with Broome leading the way with 11.

This performance gives Auburn its worst overall shooting performance of the season. That could be thanks to the Volunteer defense, which ranks as the nation’s number one defense statistically.

Defensively, Auburn held the Volunteers in check. Making it tough for them to find an easy basket, the Auburn defense forced 12 total turnovers, with nine steals and four blocks. The Vols had its lowest shooting performance this season, shooting just a 27% from the field, but hitting crucial shots in moments of need. Their 46 points were the lowest in a victory since 1984.

The Tigers will look to put this one behind them and move on to a Texas A&M team, which ended Auburn’s 28 home game winning streak. That game is set for a 6 pm tip on Tuesday.