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Auburn wrecks Alabama at Neville to tie for SEC lead

The Auburn Tigers defeated Alabama 99-81 on Wednesday night to tie for first place in the Southeastern Conference. Both teams have 8 wins and 2 losses in the conference.

This continued to be a problem for Alabama all season, but the Tide simply couldn't handle Auburn's big men, with Joni Bloom having 24 points and seven rebounds and Jaylin Williams having 26 points and six rebounds.

The turning point of the night came near the end of the first half. After Auburn got off to a strong start and took a double-digit lead, Alabama fought back to take a 39-38 lead with 3:44 left.

But Auburn then went on a 16-2 run to end the first half and went into intermission with a 55-41 lead.

Alabama turned the ball over nine times in the first half, while Auburn only turned it over once. The Tigers scored 15 points off turnovers in the first half.

Bloom and Williams combined for 31 points in the first half.

In the second half, Auburn got to the free throw line 34 times (there were 50 attempts in the game) and made 27 of them.

After the first half was dominated by Auburn, Alabama never got closer than 12 points in the second half, and at one point was down to 23 points.

Alabama turned it over six more times in the second half compared to Auburn's four, finishing the turnover battle 15-5.

Alabama's Mark Sears scored 16 points in the second half for 25 points, but overall he didn't have enough of a game-winning impact.

Auburn's 50 free throw attempts were the second-most in a Division I game this season, and its 40 made broke the Tigers' program record.

“Auburn was ready, we weren’t ready yet. This was a No. 1 game, but they came out and played just like they did when they were No. 1. We played like we could still be in first place if we won, but unfortunately…they were better than us tonight,” said University of Alabama head coach Nate Oats.

“I wanted to go into this game. It was obviously the biggest game of the regular season this year. We're putting ourselves in a situation where we're at least still in it. The crowd was great, the environment was great. “ESPN goes to a lot of great buildings and packed crowds, but this one (Neville Arena) is different,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said.

Auburn's next game is a tough road test at Florida on Saturday. Tipoff is at 2:30pm CST on SEC Network. Alabama heads to Baton Rouge to take on LSU at 11 a.m. CST on ESPN.

Michael Brauner is a senior sports analyst and contributing writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @MBraunerWNSP

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