January 16, 2013

Auburn loses in 2OT

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Auburn was at its very best Wednesday night at Arkansas, but fell short in double overtime.

Arkansas won, 88-80.

Many of the Tigers' previous trips to Fayetteville ended in near-embarrassment, though things clearly were different this time around. The visitors fought through a messy close to the first half and built a second-half lead. Then Arkansas pulled ahead. Then Allen Payne's three-pointer with five seconds in regulation remaining forced the game into overtime.

It was that kind of night.

Free-throw shooting was the Tigers' most obvious undoing. They finished 6-of-15 from the line despite shooting 50 percent overall from the floor.

Frankie Sullivan finished with 26 points to lead Auburn. Center Rob Chubb added 12 points and 11 rebounds.

The Tigers now are 2-1 in Southeastern Conference play heading into a weekend tilt against Kentucky.

The difference Wednesday night was senior Sullivan, who was held to three points during the first half. Still, he opened the second half with a brazen drive down the lane and never let his fearlessness wane.

Arkansas had its way with the visitors though much of the first half with its typical, relentless brand of full-court defense. Auburn committed 10 turnovers during the first half, which helped satiate the home team's thirst for fast breaks.

Things changed after halftime. Auburn instead concentrated its efforts toward getting the ball to center Rob Chubb near the basket. He scored six points soon after halftime, which forced Arkansas into a state of defensive confusion.

Once Chubb began attracting increased defensive attention, though, Sullivan took advantage from the outside. He connected on four of his first six attempts from long range.

At one point mid-way through the half, Auburn was 11-of-14 from the floor. That hot shooting dissipated during the final six minutes. Arkansas pulled ahead with three minutes remaining, though Payne's late three-pointer extended the game.

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