AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Sharife Cooper had 28 factors, eight rebounds and 7 assists to guide Auburn to an 88-82 win over No. 12 Missouri on Tuesday evening.
Cooper, a freshman level guard who missed Auburn’s first 11 contests this season, had his fourth 20-point outing in six profession video games. Bruce Pearl’s younger Tigers, which additionally acquired 23 mixed factors from freshmen forwards JT Thor and Chris Moore, are actually 4-2 since Cooper was dominated eligible by the NCAA.
”(Missouri is) one of many high groups within the nation,” Cooper mentioned. ”It provides you confidence. We really feel like we are able to compete with anyone.”
Auburn (10-7, 4-5 Southeastern Convention) raced out to a 14-point lead early, thanks largely to some tenacious protection and rebounding.
Nevertheless, a veteran Missouri crew clawed its approach again late within the first half, when Cooper was pressured to take a seat due to foul bother. Whereas Missouri led by as many as seven within the second half, Auburn battled again and took the lead for good with 7:34 left on a floater from Cooper.
”He is an alpha canine,” Pearl mentioned of Cooper. ”He is the most important little man on the market, interval. Everyone is aware of it.”
Missouri (10-3, 4-3) was led by seniors Jeremiah Tilmon and Dru Smith, who scored 42 of the crew’s 82 factors.
”It is shot choice in well timed conditions. we have been up by seven within the second half by getting the ball inside and shifting it,” Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin mentioned. ”Then, hastily, it was a fast shot right here, a turnover there, a missed layup there. These have been momentum-killers.”
Missouri: Missouri’s profitable streak in SEC play has come to an finish at three video games. Taking pictures woes, which have been a theme within the earlier SEC losses to Tennessee and Mississippi State, popped up once more Tuesday. Missouri shot simply 38.2 % from the ground and 24 % from deep for the sport.
Auburn: Though Auburn has self-imposed a postseason ban, it now has a win over a ranked crew that it could possibly construct on for the remainder of the SEC slate. Auburn additionally confirmed it might come again and seize a victory after dropping an early double-digit lead, one thing it didn’t do final Wednesday in a highway loss at Arkansas.
Missouri dedicated 31 fouls within the recreation, with Dru Smith, Mark Smith and Xavier Pinson all fouling out. Auburn shot 44 free throws as a crew, with 30 of them coming after halftime.
Cooper hit 18 of 21 free-throw makes an attempt within the second half alone.
”I am going to return and watch movie, and I am not saying that the officers did not do a great job,” Martin mentioned. ”However 44 free throws is loads whenever you’re attempting to beat a crew on the highway.”
Two weeks in the past, in a win over Georgia, Auburn grew to become the primary crew in Division I basketball to have 14 blocks in a single recreation this season.
Auburn repeated the feat Tuesday evening in opposition to Missouri. Sophomore middle Babatunde Akingbola recorded 5 in simply eight minutes off the bench. Thor blocked 4 photographs. Six totally different Auburn gamers had not less than one block.
”That is simply big,” Pearl mentioned of the 14 blocks. ”We’ve got some weaknesses, we have now some warts. However we have now some size.”
Missouri hosts TCU within the Massive 12-SEC Problem on Saturday, the primary of three straight dwelling video games. Kentucky and Alabama will go to Mizzou Enviornment subsequent week.
Auburn performs at No. 2 Baylor within the Massive 12-SEC Problem on Saturday. Pearl’s Tigers additionally performed No. 1 Gonzaga away from dwelling earlier this season.