Auburn crushes Tennessee for big road win in Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 17: Head coach Rick Barnes of the Tennessee Volunteers reacts in the second half of a game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Thompson-Boling Arena on December 17, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. North Carolina won 78-73. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn-Bryce Brown and Jared Harper each scored 18 points Tuesday night as Auburn erased an early 14-point deficit to beat No. 23 Tennessee 94-84 for its 11th straight victory.

By rallying in its Southeastern Conference opener, Auburn extended its longest winning streak since a 14-game run in 1999-2000. Auburn (13-1, 1-0 SEC) also ended a 10-game road skid in this series and beat Tennessee in Knoxville for the first time since a 74-69 triumph on Jan. 7, 1998.

Tennessee (9-4, 0-2) has lost two straight games for the first time this season.

This also marked former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl’s first win in Knoxville since taking over Auburn’s program in 2014. Pearl, who led Tennessee to six straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2006-11, owns a 2-4 record against the Vols as Auburn’s coach, including a 1-2 mark at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Auburn withstood a career-high 25 points from Tennssee’s Lamonte Turner, who made all 13 of his free-throw attempts before fouling out. Grant Williams added 22 points, Jordan Bone had 18 and Admiral Schofield added 13 for Tennessee.

Mustapha Heron scored 16, Chuma Okeke had 11 and Horace Spencer added 10 for Auburn.

In a game that featured 10 lead changes in the second half alone, Auburn heated up from 3-point range to pull away down the stretch.

Auburn had missed its first nine 3-point shots of the second half before making five of its last six attempts from beyond the arc. Four of those 3-pointers came during a 2 1/2-minute span that essentially decided the game.

Brown sank the first 3-pointer to extend Auburn’s lead to 69-65 with 5:48 left. Williams converted a conventional three-point play to cut the margin to 69-68 with 5:26 remaining, but Auburn continued its 3-point flurry during an 11-0 run that put the game away.

That 11-0 spurt included two 3-pointers from Okeke and one from Brown.

Tennessee capitalized on an early 12-0 run to lead by as many as 14 before Auburn rallied to grab a 42-36 halftime advantage. That marked the first time all season Tennessee had trailed at the intermission, though the Vols were tied at halftime in a 78-75 overtime victory over No. 13 Purdue.

Auburn outscored Tennessee 28-8 over the final 10 minutes of the first half. The Tigers finished with 22 offensive rebounds.