No. 1 Auburn eager to bounce back vs. Texas A&M
- No. 21 Indiana knocks off No. 1 Purdue
- No. 10 Texas rallies past No. 7 K-State
- No. 13 Iowa St. rolls over No. 8 Kansas
- Pedulla helps Va Tech down No. 6 UVa
- No. 2 Vols grind past No. 25 Auburn
Top-ranked Auburn saw its 19-game winning streak end and now will look to bounce back when it hosts struggling Texas A&M in Southeastern Conference play on Saturday.
The Tigers (22-2, 10-1 SEC) went nearly 11 weeks without losing before falling to host Arkansas 80-76 in overtime on Tuesday night.
The good news is Auburn still holds a one-game lead in the SEC over No. 5 Kentucky entering the matchup with the Aggies (15-9, 4-7), who have lost seven straight games.
"A lot of good teams in our league," Tigers coach Bruce Pearl told reporters. "We know we don't have much margin for error. We know the position we're in. We've worked really hard to put ourselves in this position."
Auburn ran into a red-hot Arkansas squad and a rambunctious atmosphere in Fayetteville. The end result was that the Razorbacks defeated a No. 1 team for the second time in program history.
"We understand we have a price on our head," Pearl said. "It's very difficult on the road."
The Tigers also struggled in their previous game, receiving a tiebreaking basket by Wendell Green Jr. with 3.3 seconds left to post a 74-72 triumph at lowly Georgia.
Green had a chance to be the hero again in the final seconds of regulation against the Razorbacks but his 3-point shot was off the mark.
"My teammates trust me with the ball in my hands at the end of the game," Green said afterward. "Just ended up missing. At 22-2, we feel great about where we're at. We know what we have to work on to get better. Stay together and move forward to the next game."
Big man Walker Kessler had a strong outing for Auburn with a career-best 19 rebounds to go with 16 points and seven blocked shots.
Kessler has more blocked shots (104) than any player in the country. He averages 11.6 points and a team-high 8.4 rebounds.
Jabari Smith averages a team-best 15.5 points while Green (13.2) and K.D. Johnson (13.0) also score in double digits.
Texas A&M may be down entering the contest but it has traditionally handled the Tigers, winning five of the past six matchups and holding a 12-5 series edge.
The Aggies lost 76-68 at home to LSU on Tuesday night despite racking up 14 steals and forcing 22 turnovers.
But Texas A&M trailed 36-16 at halftime -- its largest deficit was 22 points early in the second half -- while losing at home for the fourth time during the seven-game skid.
"We were as bad as you could be in the first half, and arguably as good as you can be in the second half," Aggies coach Buzz Williams said afterward. "If you only looked at not the total box score but if you looked at first half and second half, I think that explains the story of the game."
Tyrece Radford scored a team-high 15 points while Henry Coleman III had 12 points and 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
Coleman promised that the Aggies will be much better against Auburn.
"I think we will regroup, and I think it is the same motto we have had the whole year -- we need to focus on us," Coleman said. "It hasn't been much about the opponent, but how can Texas A&M be better each and every game. I think that will be the same motto and I don't think anything changes."
Sixth man Quenton Jackson leads the Aggies with a 13.0 scoring average. Coleman contributes 11.0 points and a team-best 5.9 rebounds per game.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 10, 2022