(24)Auburn tops Georgia Southern, Alabama falls to Penn late
AUBURN, Ala. — Samir Doughty scored 20 points to lead No. 24 Auburn to an 83-74 victory over Georgia Southern Tuesday night in the opener for both teams.
The Tigers, coming off their first Final Four trip last season, could never quite pull away from the Sun Belt Conference’s Eagles. But Doughty made five of six free throws over the final 1:09 to avoid a late scare.
Auburn took a 61-48 lead eight minutes into the second half with Danjel Purifoy’s 3-pointer punctuating a quick eight-point flurry.
Austin Wiley had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Tigers, and Purifoy also scored 13 while making three 3s. Freshman Isaac Okoro scored 12 points in his debut. New point guard J’von McCormick had nine points and four assists.
Auburn had to replace its three top players — Jared Harper, Bryce Brown and Chuma Okeke — from the team that fell to eventual champion Virginia in the Final Four. This one started four seniors and Okoro, the team’s top new recruit.
Georgia Southern: The Eagles are trying for another strong season after back-to-back 21-12 records but are replacing Sun Belt player of the year Tookie Brown. They were outrebounded 41-27.
Auburn: The Tigers were ranked in the preseason for just the sixth time and second straight season. They committed 21 turnovers, including a wave of them early. Auburn improved to 8-0 against Georgia Southern.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Freshman Jordan Dingle scored 24 points and hit a jump shot with six seconds left, lifting Penn to an 81-80 win over Alabama Tuesday night.
Kira Lewis Jr. missed two free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining after hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer and scoring 30 points.
Lewis made a 3 with 20 seconds left for Alabama but Dingle gave Penn back the lead. Lewis couldn’t convert from the line with a chance to tie or take the lead.
Freshman guard Jaden Shackleford scored 16 points for the Tide. James Bolden, a graduate transfer from West Virginia, had 10 in his Alabama debut.
The Tide led by six with four minutes to go in the first half, but Penn started a 24-11 run that extended into the second half.
The Tide struggled defensively after top defender Herbert Jones left the game in the first half with an elbow injury. Jones did not return in the second half.
Alabama was 11 of 38 from 3-point range and made just four in the second half.
Penn: Penn picks up its first win over an SEC opponent since the 1996-97 season. The Quakers outscored the Tide in the paint 42-30.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide will have to regroup after a deflating one-point loss in their season opener.