Alabama tops Auburn behind Shackelford’s 25 points
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — — Jaden Shackelford scored 23 points, made five 3-pointers and helped No. 5 Alabama quash a second-half threat in a 70-58 victory over rival Auburn Tuesday night. Shackelford helped the Crimson Tide (20-6, 15-2 Southeastern Conference) score 10 straight points after the Tigers (12-14, 6-11) pulled to within five late. Alabama had just secured its first SEC title in 19 years at Mississippi State over the weekend and followed that by completing its first season sweep of Auburn since 2014-15. The Tide cut down the nets to celebrate the league championship after the win. Shackelford made 5 of 9 3-pointers for a team that came in having attempted more than any other in Division I. He scored 15 points in the second half.
Herbert Jones had 10 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Tide, including a coast-to-coast dunk in the first half. John Petty and Jahvon Quinerly each scored 11 points.
It was the final home game for Alabama seniors Jones, Petty and Alex Reese. Auburn, still playing without injured point guard and leading scorer Sharife Cooper, was led by Jaylin Williams’ 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Devan Cambridge scored 11 points and Jamal Johnson had 10 for the Tigers.
JT Thor’s steal and windmill dunk cut Alabama’s lead to 52-47 with eight minutes left, capping a 7-0 run. The margin was back to double digits in less than a minute thanks to Petty’s 3-pointer and a pair of free throws from Shackelford. Shackelford then scored on a drive and made a 3, emphatically turning away the threat. Alabama led by as many as 16 points in the first half.
Auburn: Struggles taking care of the ball without Cooper (left ankle injury) continued with 15 turnovers — including three shot-clock violations — in the first half alone. Auburn finished with 23 turnovers.
Alabama: Showed poise in handling the second-half threat. Made 10 of 28 3-pointers (28.6%) but committed only seven turnovers.
Alabama already has its highest ranking of the season and is hoping to secure a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time with a strong finish.
Auburn closes the regular season Saturday with Mississippi State visiting.
Alabama visits Georgia to close the season on Saturday, trying to match its best SEC record set in 1986-87.