AUBURN, Ala. – Tennessee State scored a season high 73 points but fell at SEC foe Auburn 78-73.
The Tigers produced their best offensive effort to date in a hard fought loss at Auburn. Coach Travis Williams’ team shot 56.5 percent from the field (26-46) and 45.0 percent from deep (9-20). Both marks are the season’s bests for Big Blue.
Senior Jacquan Nobles led three Tigers in double-digits with 22 points a career high for the TSU guard. Forward Kennedy Eubanks also recorded career highs in both points (17) and rebounds (9) in the game. Senior Patrick Miller posted a season high eight assists on the evening, to go along with 17 points.
Jay Harris go the Tigers on the board first with a jumper to give TSU the early 2-0 lead. Auburn rattled off the next seven points in in the next minute of game action to take a 7-2 lead.
Coach Travis Williams used a timeout to rally the group, out of the stoppage junior forward Kennedy Eubanks connected on two layups to close within one, 7-6. A Jacquan Nobles triple continued the 7-0 run into the first media timeout.
A layup from Eubanks increased the Tigers lead out to four, 11-7 and capped the 9-0 span. During the run Tennessee State held Auburn scoreless for four minutes of play.
The two clubs traded baskets with a 3-pointer from Jay Harris knotting the game at 19 with 10:07 left in the first half. Auburn then went on a 5-0 spurt to regain the lead, 24-19 with 8:53 remaining in the opening frame.
Back-to-back threes from Nobles returned the advantage to Tennessee State, 25-24, at the 7:19 mark in the first half. The home team closed out the first half with a 36-33 lead.
Nobles finished the first half with 12 points on 4-5 shooting from beyond the arch. The double-digit effort was his first since he poured in 15 points against Delaware State on Feb. 11, 2011.
As a team Tennessee State shot 12-22 (54.5%) from the field, and 6-10 (60.0%) from 3-point land.
Out of the locker room Auburn pushed the lead out to seven after an 8-4 run to make it 44-37. A Harris jumper followed by two free-throws from Pat Miller brought Big Blue back within three, 44-41.
A layup from Miller closed the home team’s lead down to two points, 51-49, with 10:46 left in the game. The two points was the senior’s seventh point in the first nine minutes of the half.
Freshman Jamonte Graham’s layup paired with Nobles fifth triple of the game cut Auburn’s lead down to a single point, 59-58, with 6:48 left in the game.
Auburn used two free-throws and a layup from Chris Denson increased its lead back to five, 63-58, at 5:44 in the second. The home team scored four more points to extend the advantage out to the largest lead to that point, at nine, 67-58 at the 4:10 mark in the second.
Two freebies from Kennedy Eubanks cut the Auburn lead down to 70-65 with 1:33 remaining in the contest.
Patrick Miller converted a layup and grabbed a steal with just under a minute left on the clock. The Tigers raced down the court and Nobles nailed a three from the top of the key to cut Auburn’s lead down to two points, 72-70 with 36.2 left on the game clock.
TSU fouled on the inbounds pass putting Denson on the line for Auburn. The guard hit both free-throws to push the lead back to four, 74-70. Nobles got a good look from three on the other end just missing, Auburn countered going 1-2 from the line extending their lead to five.
Miller was fouled on the other end going 1-2 from the line missing the backend of the pair of freebies. The Tigers grabbed the rebound but a 3-pointer from Miller just missed allowing the Tigers to grab the rebound.
That was the final stand for the Tigers as Auburn closed out the game at the line, winning 78-73.