Auburn drops road tilt at No. 8 Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Auburn suffered a 70-58 defeat to No. 8 Alabama in what was the final road game of the 2020-21 season Tuesday night.

A breakaway windmill dunk from freshman JT Thor cut the lead to five with just over eight minutes remaining, but a short-handed Auburn squad didn’t have enough firepower down the stretch to keep up with the Crimson Tide.

There was no lack of effort from the Tigers, especially defensively, as they held the same Alabama team who scored 94 points in Auburn Arena two months ago to 70 points on Tuesday.

“I thought our kids really competed, played hard, won the battle of the boards,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. “Obviously for the game, if you look at Alabama’s shooting percentages, we gave ourselves a chance to win. But offensively we’ve got some limitations.”

Auburn, who was without point guard Sharife Cooper for the third straight game, turned it over 23 times. Despite the turnover total, junior Jamal Johnson put together another solid performance at point guard with 10 points and a career-high seven assists.

After falling behind by 16 early in the first half, it was Johnson who single-handedly closed the gap for Auburn with eight straight points, including a pair of 3s.

Devan Cambridge’s 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the first half made it a 37-27 game at the break. Cambridge made three shots from deep and finished with 11 points.

The leading scorer of the night for the Tigers was sophomore Jaylin Williams who finished with 13 points on 5 of 6 shooting. It was the 15th time this season Williams has scored in double figures, including each of his last three games.

“Jaylin Williams was very productive tonight,” Pearl said. “We’re trying to get it to him more. We need to get it to him more.”

Thor and Allen Flanigan added seven points apiece and also led the way on the glass. Thor pulled down seven rebounds while Flanigan finished with a team-high nine rebounds, one off his career high. As a team, Auburn outrebounded Alabama for the game, 46-34.

Jadan Shackelford scored a game-high 23 points to lead Alabama.

The Tigers (12-14, 6-11) will close out the season Saturday at home against Mississippi State. The game is scheduled to tip off at noon CT from Auburn Arena.

“I wish we would’ve got this dub today and then win on Saturday so we could’ve ended perfectly ready to go into the next season, but that’s not going to happen,” Williams said. “So we have to win this Saturday, and we’re going to be prepared for Mississippi State.”