The Auburn Tigers won the SEC Tournament Championship for the first time since 1985 on Sunday. The Tigers finished a four-day run through the tournament in Nashville with an 84-64 blowout win over the Tennessee Volunteers. A victory obviously assures Auburn an auto-bid in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, while Tennessee naturally won’t have to sweat it out, but their seeding may (or may not) have been impacted by the result.
The game itself was a tale of two halves in a way. Not necessarily how the script was flipped — Auburn held a 32-23 edge over Tennessee after the first 20 minutes — but in how both teams played. The Tigers shot 48.3 percent from the field and the Vols posted a mark of 57.7 percent. Each team shot at least 50 percent from 3-point land — the Vols shooting 55.6 percent while the Tigers shot 50 percent. But despite outshooting their opponents, Tennessee just let things slip away far too much for them to mount any sort of comeback.
Bryce Brown and Chuma Okeke were the lead dogs for Auburn, posting 19 and 18 points respectively. Okeke and Brown also each made five 3-pointers in the victory, proving to be integral inside and out. Daniel Purifoy got into double figures as well with a 10-point outing, and Jared Haprer finished just a point shy with nine points despite going 1-for-11 from the field. Malik Dunbar had eight points himself, meanwhile. Okeke led with 13 rebounds, giving him a well-rounded double-double.
Lamonte Turner led both sides with 24 points in the losing effort. Grant Williams, Jordan Bone and Jordan Bowden joined him in double figures with 13, 11 and 10. But other integral players were held down in a big way. Notably, Admiral Schofield was held to just four points, shot 1-for-8 from the floor and had four personal fouls. Grant’s 13 points were a bit under what he usually produces, as the two-time SEC Player of the Year had a bit of an underwhelming showing.
Up next for both sides obviously is the NCAA Tournament, and we’ll see what kind of luck is bestowed on them in the event.