AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) – Mark Sears’s 22 points and clutch free throws propelled Alabama to a 79-75 win over eighth-ranked Auburn on Wednesday night.
The Tigers were riding an 11-game winning streak heading into the contest, but they were hindered by three-point shooting and turnovers.
Auburn shot a striking 20 percent from three-point range, 5-25 from behind the arch, and finished with 11 total turnovers, which Alabama capitalized on for 15 of their 79 points.
Bruce Pearl’s team had a chance to tie the game with 13 seconds remaining when Chad Baker-Mazara was fouled on a three-point attempt. Baker-Mazara converted the first two free throws but missed the third, which left Auburn down one, 75-74.
From there, it was a free-throw-making contest for Alabama. Grant Nelson and Spears took care of that, as they sunk four straight free throws from the charity stripe to win the game.
In addition to his big scoring night, Spears also finished with eight assists and five rebounds.
Off the bench, Rylan Griffen added 17 points. He made an impact from behind the arc, as he converted five 3-pointers total, with four of those being during a 4:19 span in the first half.
For the Tigers, Johni Broome led the offensive charge with 25 points on 11-17 shooting, 14 rebounds, and five blocks. Baker-Mazara added 11 points, and Denver Jones poured in 9.
Freshman guard Aden Holloway had a tough night from the field, scoring 2 total points, both from the free throw line, as he shot 0-7 from the field.
With the win, Alabama moves into a tie with Auburn for first place in the Southeastern Conference. This is the Crimson Tide’s first win over a ranked opponent in five tries this season.
In terms of the Iron Bowl rivalry, Alabama is the first team to win three straight games since the Tide did it last in 2015.
Alabama hosts the Tigers of LSU on Saturday night.
Following the loss, Bruce Pearl’s record at Coleman Coliseum as the Auburn head coach drops to 2-7. Auburn’s win streak was the fourth longest in the nation, and the longest among Power 5 teams before tonight's loss.
Next for Auburn, the Tigers travel to Starkville to battle Mississippi State on Saturday.