Hot-Shooting Tigers Top Oklahoma State 77-66

0
196

CONTRIBUTED BY
AU ATHLETICS

Auburn shot for its highest percentage in almost three years as the Tigers led nearly from start to finish in a 77-66 win over Oklahoma State Sunday at Auburn Arena.

The Tigers (5-3) shot 60.4% from the field to win their third straight game and fifth in their last six contests. Auburn’s victory was the sixth of the week for the SEC, clinching a second straight win for the conference in the annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

“I thought our team came out and played tough,” said Auburn head coach Johnnie Harris. “We’ve been challenging them to come out tough, to be prepared, to throw the first punch. We did get in a little foul trouble early, but I thought we played really hard. Just a total team effort. My staff was awesome with preparing our team to get ready for this game.”

Sophomore Aicha Coulibaly topped the 20-point mark for the third straight game, pouring in a game-high 25 on 9-of-10 shooting; 17 of her 25 came in the second half. She also had five rebounds and a team-best three steals.

“We saw some mismatches (in the second half), and we tried to draw up some plays for AC,” Harris said. “It was the same plays we were running, we just moved some people around to get AC open.”

Honesty Scott-Grayson took charge from the beginning, posting a 22-point night while sharing the team lead with six rebounds. Sania Wells overcame early foul trouble to finish with 13 points, six boards and a team-best four assists. And Jala Jordan had her second straight productive game, scoring nine points along with four rebounds and three blocks.

“Honesty did a great job at point,” Harris said. “We worked on that with her this week just in case of foul trouble, and she did a good job. They all know the next person has to step up when we get in foul trouble, if somebody gets hurt, if I have to pull somebody, we work with them in practice to make sure they’re ready for that.”

The Tigers’ 60.4-percent shooting night (29-of-48) was the best by an Auburn team since the 2018-19 squad shot 63.3 percent in a win at Elon. Auburn hit its first six shots and never really cooled off, shooting 66.7 percent in the first half. Auburn also out-rebounded Oklahoma State 32-30 and got 44 of its 77 points in the paint.

Oklahoma State scored the game’s first basket, but after Scott-Grayson answered with a baseline jumper to make it 2-2, the Tigers never trailed again. Auburn pushed its lead to as many as six points midway through the first and led 21-16 after 10 minutes.

The Tigers would open the second quarter on a 10-2 run, taking a 31-18 lead on a Jordan layup with 6:13 to play; OSU would cut it to nine at 40-31 after 20 minutes.

A basket and-one from Coulibaly pushed the Tigers’ lead back to 44-33 early in the third, but the Cowgirls would go on a 6-0 run to get within five; the Auburn lead would be 56-50 after three. OSU would get as close as two points at 61-59 with just over six minutes to play, but back-to-back turnovers would help Auburn push its advantage back to seven at 67-60. Leading by six with a minute to go, Wells and Coulibaly made clutch free throws to put the game out of reach for OSU.

Lauren Fields led Oklahoma State with 20 points; Taylen Collins added 11 along with a game-high eight rebounds.

After a week off for final exams, Auburn is back in action next Sunday, Dec. 12, as the Tigers host New Orleans. Game time is 2 p.m. CST at Auburn Arena with a national broadcast on SEC Network.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here