Auburn stays perfect at home behind Smith’s Career-High 31 Points
AUBURN, Ala. – Jabari Smith hit seven 3-pointers and scored a career-high 31 points to lead No. 2 Auburn to a 94-80 victory vs. Vanderbilt Tuesday, improving the Tigers to 14-0 at Auburn Arena.
Smith hit a trio of treys before the first media timeout of the second half to tie his previous best of 25 points while giving Auburn a 53-46 lead, adding his final 3 a few minutes later.
The freshman phenom surpassed the 30-point mark with a late baseline jumper before heading to the bench with 31 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Smith sank 7 of 10 3-point attempts to join former Tigers Bryce Brown, Samir Doughty, Mustapha Heron and Jared Harper in the 30-point club in the Pearl era.
Walker Kessler filled the stat sheet with 21 points, seven rebounds and seven blocked shots. Wendell Green Jr. also flirted with a triple-double, tallying 12 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.
With five games remaining, the Tigers lead Kentucky and Tennessee by two games in the race for the SEC regular season championship.
Auburn scored 52 points in the second half while shooting 70.8 percent from the field, a dramatic improvement after a slow start.
The Tigers ended the first half on a 7-0 run to lead 42-38 after overcoming an early double-digit deficit.
The Commodores scored the game’s first 11 points before Smith got Auburn on the board with a 3-pointer.
Devan Cambridge’s 3-pointer tied the score at 14-14, capping an 11-0 Auburn run that featured K.D. Johnson’s reverse layup and step-back 3-pointer.
Vanderbilt hit a pair of 3-pointers before Kessler scored six straight Auburn points. The Tigers trailed 30-22 when Smith took over down the stretch, scoring 12 consecutive points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Kessler gave the Tigers their first lead on a pair of free throws in the final minute, then extended Auburn’s advantage to four points when Green fed him for a dunk with five seconds remaining in the half.
Smith scored 16 points in the half while Kessler added 10.
Auburn (24-2, 12-1) travels to Florida Saturday to play the Gators at 1 p.m. CT on ESPN.