Home CollegeSLU Billikens No. 13 Auburn Tops Billikens in Back-and-Forth Battle, 65-60

No. 13 Auburn Tops Billikens in Back-and-Forth Battle, 65-60

by Brian Kunderman

AUBURN, Ala. – No. 13 Auburn rallied in the final minutes to post a 65-60 victory over Saint Louis Sunday afternoon at Neville Arena.

SLU falls to 5-2 on the season, while Auburn improves to 7-0.

Javon Pickett led the Billikens with a season-high 16 points. Gibson Jimerson added 12 points thanks in part to four 3-pointers. Yuri Collins, the NCAA’s assists leader, finished with 10 points and nine assists.

Saint Louis, which entered the game ranked seventh in the NCAA with a .813 free-throw percentage, shot an uncharacteristic 28.6 percent from the stripe. That included a 1-for-11 mark from the line in the second half alone.

The entertaining game featured 11 ties and eight lead changes. Saint Louis got its biggest lead of the game with a Francis Okoro dunk off a Collins feed with 4:43 remaining, putting SLU up by five at 58-53.

But Auburn would go on an 11-0 run from that point on to take control. The comeback was punctuated by a fast-break slam by Allen Flanigan that gave the Tigers a lead it would not relinquish.

Wendell Green Jr. led Auburn with 22 points.

Auburn jumped out to a nine-point lead at 13-4 early in the first half before the Billikens clawed back in it, thanks in part to back-to-back treys by Pickett and Jimerson.

SLU briefly took the lead in the first half, 20-18 with 7:52 remaining on a Pickett steal and score, but Auburn took a three-point lead into the break, 36-33. SLU quickly regained the lead in the second half and it went back-and-forth until the game-deciding 11-0 run by the Tigers at the end.

Saint Louis plays its next two game at Chaifetz Arena – Wednesday, Nov. 30, against Tennessee State (8 p.m. on Bally Sports Midwest) and Saturday, Dec. 3, against Southern Illinois (3 p.m. on Bally Sports Midwest).

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