Bryce Brown scored 17 points to lead a balanced scoring attack as fifth-seeded Auburn defeated 12th-seeded Missouri 81-71 in the second round of the SEC tournament on Thursday afternoon in Nashville, Tenn.
Brown made 5 of 10 3-point attempts, Chuma Okeke scored 12 points and Horace Spencer and Malik Dunbar scored 11 each as 22nd-ranked Auburn (23-9) advanced to face fourth-seeded South Carolina in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Jordan Geist, who scored a career-high 30 points in a first-round victory against 13th-seeded Georgia on Tuesday, scored 25 against Auburn, making 5 of 11 3-pointers. Torrence Watson made 6 of 9 3-pointers and added 20 points to lead Missouri (15-17), which hung in by making 15 of 30 3-pointers.
Xavier Pinson’s 3-pointer started the second-half scoring and gave Missouri a 33-32 lead before Auburn started scoring in bunches.
Okeke converted a three-point play, Dunbar made a 3-pointer and Brown made three 3-pointers as Auburn raced to a 49-39 lead.
Geist made back-to-back 3-pointers and Watson added another as Missouri pulled even at 52.
Spencer broke the tie when he completed a three-point play and Danjel Purifoy and Brown added 3-pointers to complete a 9-0 run.
Watson answered with a 3-pointer and two free throws before Dunbar’s three-point play helped Auburn take a 66-57 lead with five minutes remaining.
Missouri twice got within five points, but Brown’s two free throws gave Auburn an eight-point lead with 2:14 left.
Auburn outscored Missouri 49-41 in the second half to win for the seventh time in its last eight games and win an SEC tournament game for the first time in four seasons.
Watson made a 3-pointer, but Brown answered with a 3-pointer and Okeke had a tip-in to give Auburn a 78-68 lead with 54 seconds left.
Missouri led for most of the first half before Spencer’s dunk pulled Auburn even at 21 and started an 11-0 run.
Watson, Kevin Puryear and Geist made consecutive 3-pointers as Missouri pulled even before J’Von McCormick’s layup gave Auburn a 32-30 halftime lead.
—Field Level Media