Jared Harper had 31 points against UAB. (photo: Cat Wofford/USA TODAY Sports)
It was almost one of those wins that really didn’t feel like a win. For a second, many Auburn basketball fan’s first reaction to the overtime win over UAB was, “a bad and ugly win.” Some fans even took it a step further pronouncing “maybe Auburn isn’t as good as we thought.”
Can’t blame them one bit, at least in the immediate aftermath. Out-manned and out-gunned UAB laid every ounce of energy on the court for as long as they could. Unlike other teams that Auburn has faced in this young season, it was enough to get to overtime. While the 75-71 score looks close, once overtime began, Auburn wasn’t in jeopardy of losing.
Before diving into the Tigers and, specifically, the heroics of one diminutive Jared Harper, let’s take a second to talk about the UAB Blazers, this rivalry between the Blazers and Tigers, and keeping this matchup each and every year.
The Blazers aren’t exactly playing great basketball this year. Some could say that with Auburn and Alabama being down for the last few years, that UAB was the best program in the state of Alabama. Obviously, that isn’t’ the case with Bruce Pearl and the work he’s done in Auburn. Even before Pearl, Auburn owned a lengthy winning streak against the Blazers.
Despite not even coming close against Florida State and Memphis earlier this year, Blazer fans showed up to Legacy Arena with more than just a fired up 50%-of-the-crowd. They came out to do much more than represent “the other side” of the Mike Slive Invitational. They came to win, and win they almost did.
Auburn fans may not be pleased with how the game went Saturday night, nor should they. Auburn simply wasn’t very good. But, Auburn fans should feel really good about coming away with a win against a super-motivated team that may not have shot the lights out, but hit every single shot they had to hit to take the Tigers to the brink.
UAB shot just 31 percent from long-range, but don’t take that for face-value. Guard Jalen Perry was 4-8 from downtown and when he wasn’t on the floor, Jeremiah Bell stepped right into his shoes, hitting 3-7. The rest of the Blazers were a paltry 2-13. This game had more lead changes than the entirety of Auburn’s young season. Yet there were moments along the way that felt like Auburn had done UAB in for good, just to have one of those guards come right down the floor and bury a three ball.
And, for yet another game, an Auburn opponent worked over the Tigers on the glass. While Auburn still had more offensive rebounds than the UAB, the Blazers were able to have put-backs. It’s hard to point to just that as one of the reasons that UAB stayed in this game, considering Auburn out-rebounded UAB 40-39, it never should have been that close. Auburn has a trio of big men that should be able to play with anyone in the country, bar none. Instead, it was an even split with a team that really shouldn’t have any business competing with the Top 10 Tigers.
Auburn continued their tendency of …
Read Full Story →
There have been over a dozen names thrown around that Malzahn could be interested in hiring as offensive coordinator. The odds on favorite has to be former Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze. And it makes sense to hire Freeze on several levels. Freeze is itching to get back in to coaching and redeem himself. He’s a great recruiter and a great offens ...Read Full Story