AUBURN, Ala. – Senior Unique Thompson scored his first double-double of the season, and Auburn was able to fend off a late 3-point burst from Samford to score a 66-64 victory Saturday night at Auburn Arena.
The Tigers (2-0) led by as many as 16 points at the start of the second half. But Samford (0-2) got away in the final 20 minutes, led by five 3-pointers from the Bulldogs' Katie Allen in the fourth quarter, three of them in the final 79 seconds, to put a lot of pressure on the Tigers.
A pair of key shots by red-shirt sophomore Jala Jordan held the Bulldogs at bay, and free throws by Thompson and junior Kira Lowery secured victory when Samford missed. a Final 3-Point Throw on the bell. "It was definitely a fight at the end," said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy . "It's just a miscommunication defensively. You can't give up those kinds of 3s late in the game. And we miss a lot of shots, a lot of open shots.
" It's just trying to find the right combinations right now. Some of our best offensive players are not good defensive players, but you need them on the offensive side. So it's something we have to work on, you have to be able to play on both ends of the court. "
Thompson led Auburn with 16 points for the second game in a row and had 11 rebounds for his first double-double. of the season and 43rd of his career.He also led the Tigers with five steals.
Lowery added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting and had four team-leading assists. Second game as Tiger. He also added a couple steals Junior Keya Patton added nine points, knocking down three 3s, and Jordan had eight points and four rebounds.
Auburn got off to a good start, shooting 67 percent in the first quarter but cooled considerably to 29 percent the rest of the way; the Tigers finished 36.7 percent. Meanwhile, Samford started hot and stayed hot, shooting 52.1 percent from the ground. with eight triples. The game was won on the line free throws; Auburn was 15 of 23 while Samford was 6 of 10. The Tigers had one more rebound than Samford (33-32) and converted 21 Bulldog turnovers into 22 points.
The Tigers led 22-16 after one thanks to five of their first seven triples. night attempts. But they would only do 2 of 18 from long distance the rest of the way. Breaking the offensive glass in the second quarter and converting 10 first-half offensive rebounds into nine second-chance points helped increase the lead to 38-26 at halftime.
It would be 42-26 less than a minute. in the third in consecutive cubes from Lowery, but from there, Auburn began to cool as Samford warmed up. The Tigers saw their lead shrink to 50-42 at the end of three, then an 8-4 Bulldog run in the first three minutes of the quarter cut it to 54-50.
Auburn would only make two more shots from the field the rest of the way, both shots from Jordan in the final three minutes. His second, a triple with less than a minute left, pushed the lead to five at 61-56. From there, Allen sank two 3s in a 10-second stretch, sandwiched around four free throws by Thompson and Lowery, to make it a 1-point game at 65-64. Lowery was fouled again, made one of two, and a long-range shot from Samford's Makaila Woolard went offside.
Allen of Samford led all scorers with 21 points, and Shauntai Battle added 19. Raven Omar had eight.
Auburn hosts Gardner-Webb on Tuesday, December 1 to wrap up a three-game home stand that opens the season at Auburn Arena. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. CONNECTICUT. Tickets are available at AUBTix.com, and fans can watch on SEC Network + and listen live on WQSI 93.9 FM and online at AuburnTigers.com.