The Oklahoma Sooners pushed No. 1 Auburn as hard as they could, but they ended up falling to the Tigers, 86-68, in the Big 12-SEC Challenge on Saturday in Auburn, Alabama.
Oklahoma (13-8, 3-5 in Big 12) had hoped to beat a No. 1 team on the road for the first time. But the Tigers (19-1, 8-0 in SEC), who ascended to the No. 1 spot on Monday for the first time in school history, wasn’t having it.
The Sooners were down by double-digits for a good portion of the first half, thanks to a nine-minute drought without a field goal that allowed Auburn to build a 23-10 lead. But, the Sooners never let the Tigers run away and hide, with the Sooners at one point cutting Auburn’s advantage to a two-possession game midway through the second half. From there, the Tigers worked to keep the Sooners at arm’s length and built a double-digit lead to secure the win.
Jabari Smith, the potential No. 1 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, had 23 points and 12 rebounds for Auburn. Walker Kessler scored 21 points and K.D. Johnson added 13 points.
For the Sooners, Jordan Goldwire had 19 points while Umoja Gibson added 14 points. Tanner Groves scored 13 points but struggled at times.
Also in the Big 12-SEC Challenge’s 1 p.m. games:
Iowa State won its second straight game and handled Missouri, 67-50. The No. 23 Cyclones should see a bit of a nudge in the Top 25 on Monday, as TCU upset No. 18 LSU in the first game of the Big 12-SEC Challenge. The Cyclones had a 15-1 run at one point in the second half and were led offensively by Izaiah Brockington (14 points) and Tyrese Hunter (14 points). Hunter learned earlier this week that he’s on the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year watch list.
West Virginia fell behind by as many as 19 points early in the second half against Arkansas but went on a 16-2 run to cut the Razorback’s lead to 54-49 with 12:21 left. But, the Mountaineers couldn’t make the entire climb, falling to Arkansas, 77-68. The Mountaineers have now lost five straight games. Kedrian Johnson led the Mountaineers with 18 points, while Taz Sherman scored 15 points and Malik Curry added 11 points.
Big 12-SEC Challenge Results
(Big 12 2, SEC 2 after Four games)
No. 1 Auburn 86, Oklahoma 68
Iowa State 67, Missouri 50
Arkansas 77, West Virginia 68
No. 4 Baylor at Alabama, 3 p.m., ESPN
Kansas State at Ole Miss, 3 p.m., ESPNU
Oklahoma State at Florida, 3 p.m., ESPN2
No. 12 Kentucky at No. 5 Kansas, 5 p.m., ESPN
No. 18 Tennessee at Texas, 7 p.m., ESPN
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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