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January 16, 2013

Auburn can’t survive double-OT thriller in Arkansas

Staff report

Auburn had its chances to survive a heavyweight fight, but the mystique of Arkansas’ home court once again was too much for the Tigers.

B.J. Young’s deep 3-pointer with 27 seconds left in the second overtime sealed the deal, helping Arkansas outlast the Tigers 88-80 in double overtime Wednesday and improve to 16-2 against Auburn at Bud Walton Arena.

The Tigers (8-8, 2-1), which had been 6-2 since Nov. 30, have now gone 1-2 in double overtime over the past two seasons – beating Ole Miss last season but losing to Rhode Island and Arkansas in the past two months.

Auburn junior Allen Payne connected on a game-tying, second-effort 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds remaining in regulation. The Razorbacks lost the handle trying to quickly respond, sending the game to a first extra period at 67-all.

Arkansas (11-5, 2-1) scored 17 consecutive points in the first half, but that stretch was sandwiched by a pair of 10-2 runs for the Tigers.

Free throws plagued both squads; Auburn bit the bitter bullet going just 7-for-17, including 3-for-9 in regulation. Arkansas was 20-33 from the line.

Seniors Frankie Sullivan and Rob Chubb scored Auburn’s first 14 points of the second half, erasing a seven-point halftime deficit.

Sullivan’s 3-pointer gave the Tigers a 64-61 lead with 6 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the second half, but Auburn did not score again until Payne’s game-tying triple in the waning seconds.

The SEC’s No. 2-leading scorer going into the evening, Sullivan was sensational again, recording 26 points with five 3-pointers and nine rebounds. Chubb produced his fourth double-double and second in as many games, finishing with 12 points, 11 rebounds and three assists before fouling out with 1:11 remaining in the second extra period.

Arkansas has been stingy against opponents’ jump-shooters, but Auburn managed to shoot a respectable 31-of-62 from the floor – an even 50 percent.

The Razorbacks’ Marshawn Powell led all scorers with 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting to go with 11 boards, and Young chipped in 22 points.

Auburn coach Tony Barbee is now winless in five cracks against Arkansas. The Razorbacks and Tigers will rematch at Auburn Arena on Feb. 13.

The Tigers’ next trip out is back at home Saturday night in a sold-out affair against Kentucky.

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