AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) -- The Auburn Tigers expand their win streak to nine as they defeat LSU by double digits – a common trend in Auburn’s win streak – in Neville Arena on Saturday.
After a back-and-forth during the first few moments of the game, Auburn started to settle in on the defensive side of the court. Led by Chad Baker-Mazara, Auburn’s backcourt was relentless in swiping away steals, forcing nine in the first half alone. Auburn used those steals to produce a nice transition offense and finished plus nine in the points-off-turnover differential for the first half.
“Have Chad Baker on the floor and that’s three or four before you even get started,” Bruce Pearl said postgame on the defensive performance. “I trust him as a playmaker and obviously trust him defensively…But they were a team we knew we could turnover.”
Aden Holloway led a charge from deep in the first half, hitting three of his first five, and helped Auburn go on a 19-4 run heading
into the half.
Auburn’s lead coming out of the second half grew to as much as 28 and it looked like the Tigers would have a historic night in Neville Arena. That was quickly put to rest as LSU would eventually go on a 21-2 run and Auburn’s lead was cut down to just nine.
After going scoreless in the first half, LSU guard Trae Hannibal gave the Bayou Bengals the spark they needed, scoring 18 points during their run.
But Auburn’s depth and defense still proved to be too much. Auburn ended the night by forcing a season-high 16 steals and relied on its bench to provide a spark in the last few moments.
“It’s getting really obvious that our second group coming in is really effective defensively at turning people over and playing with a
different level of effort, energy and effectiveness,” said Pearl.
Chad Baker-Mazara led the Tigers in scoring with a season-high 19 points. Tre Donaldson also added 10 coming off the bench and helped ice the game away in the final moments.
Auburn improves to 14-2 on the season and 3-0 in conference play with a chance to improve that on Wednesday as they travel to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt in a game set for 8 p.m. on SECN.