Auburn rebuffs South Carolina Upstate
Freshman guard Mustapha Heron scored 23 points, including two late free throws to squash a rally by South Carolina Upstate, and Auburn held on for a 90-83 victory Tuesday in Auburn, Ala.
The Tigers (5-1) led by 10 at halftime and were up 67-51 midway through the second half, but had trouble putting away the Spartans. South Carolina Upstate (3-4) climbed back within 10 on a Deion Holmes jumper with seven minutes to play.
South Carolina Upstate’s Jure Span hit a 3-pointer with 1:28 left to cut the Auburn lead to 84-79. But Heron hit a pair of free throws in the final 30 second to secure the win.
Sophomore guard Mike Cunningham had 20 points, and senior center Michael Buchanan came off the bench to score 20 and grab 15 rebounds for the Spartans.
Senior forward LaRon Smith added 15 points off the bench for the Tigers, who were outrebounded 52-41.
South Carolina Upstate’s Ramel Thompkins knocked down a 3-pointer with four minutes left in the first half that cut the Auburn lead to 36-31. But the Spartans would score only one more point the rest of the half, and the Tigers pulled out to a 42-32 lead at intermission.
Auburn bounced back from a blowout loss to No. 16 Purdue in the championship game of the Cancun Challenge. The Tigers travel to UAB on Saturday to begin a difficult December. Auburn faces Boston College, Oklahoma, Connecticut and Georgia in December, before tipping off SEC play against Vanderbilt on Jan. 4.
South Carolina Upstate tries to bounce back against Campbell on Friday.