Observations: Auburn 100, Alabama 81
The Tigers raced out to a huge lead, adjusted well to another comeback and sped away again for their 18th straight win and a rivalry sweep.
PG Wendell Green Jr. (Jacob Taylor/Auburn Athletics)
Auburn and Alabama have now played each other in men’s basketball a total of 166 times. And Auburn has now scored 100 points in three of those games.
Prior to Tuesday night — a 100-81 win that completed a season sweep and guaranteed that the Tigers would maintain their multi-game lead in the SEC title race at the midway point — the last time Auburn accomplished that feat came on Feb. 13, 1999. Auburn scored 102 in a 41-point win over Alabama en route to a league championship.
Before that, Auburn only hit the century mark against Alabama on Valentine’s Day in 1970. In that game, John Mengelt scored a program-record 60 points as the Tigers throttled the Crimson Tide, 121-78.
Mengelt’s monster game came before the advent of the 3-point line. But, 52 years later, it wasn’t like Auburn really needed it to get to triple-digits on Alabama.
Auburn scored 100 points, and only 15 of them came on triples — the Tigers went a rough 5-21 (23.8%) from downtown. This was an old-school domination down low. Auburn shot 60% on 2-point field goals (27-45) and had a gigantic 52-22 advantage on points in the paint.
Alabama, fresh off shooting 78.6% on 2-pointers against defending national champion Baylor over the weekend, went 11-33 (33%) from inside the arc. The Crimson Tide were out-rebounded by seven, doubled up in blocks (10-5) and allowed 27 fast-break points — most of them coming on dunks and layups.
“To outrebound Alabama is significant because they fly around,” Bruce Pearl said. “Obviously, (Jaden) Shackelford and (Jahvon) Quinerly are special players and extremely, extremely, extremely talented and a handful. But I think it's the sum of our parts once again.”
While Quinerly and Shackelford accounted for 46 of Alabama’s 81, Auburn had five different players finish in double figures and 11 score points — including walk-ons Preston Cook and Carter Sobera, who scored the final five to get the Tigers to 100.
The sum of Auburn’s parts celebrated with a sellout home crowd of 9,121 that got the Arena to volume levels that had never been reached. Some players jumped into the crowd. K.D. Johnson stood on the scorer’s table. Pearl did Alabama’s crane celebration and held up a broom that a fan handed him.
“This game matters for both teams,” Pearl said. “It's a great rivalry. I have got tremendous respect for Nate (Oats) and his program, and this game matters. It matters to our fans, but I think because there's so much respect between the players and the coaches. I told our guys, 'If Alabama came in and beat us tonight and they did the, whatever that crane thing is that we do, that we started doing, I wouldn't be upset by that. I would be disappointed if they didn't do it.'
“That's kind of what a rivalry's all about, and I'm glad the students and the student-athletes are having fun with it.”
Auburn’s definitely having fun with it — the nation’s longest winning streak is now up to 18 for the No. 1 team in the country.
Here are five Observations, the Rotation Charts, Nerd Stats and the Quote of the Night from Auburn’s 100-81 win over Alabama.