Jared Harper scored 31 points as No. 8 Auburn narrowly avoided an upset bid from UAB in a 75-71 overtime victory as part of the inaugural Mike Slive Invitational on Saturday night in Birmingham, Ala.
Chuma Okeke added 11 points for the Tigers (9-1), who beat the Blazers (6-4) for the fourth consecutive season, though the victories have come by a total of just 14 points.
Jalen Perry scored 18, Zach Bryant and Jeremiah Bell added 13 each and Lewis Sullivan had 11 to lead UAB.
Harper started the scoring in overtime by making two free throws and added a jumper to give Auburn a 67-63 lead.
Bryant made a free throw for the Blazers’ first points of overtime and Perry added two free throws. Anfernee McLemore made a layup and Harper added one to increase the Tigers’ lead to 71-66 with a minute left.
Sullivan’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 71-69, but Harper made two free throws.
Will Butler made a dunk to cut the lead to two again, but Harper made two more free throws to finish 15 of 16 at the line.
Auburn led by one point at halftime, but Perry’s layup 30 seconds into the second half put UAB on top.
Okeke’s basket 15 seconds later put the Tigers back on top and set the tone for a tight second half.
The score was tied at 32, 38, 47 and 49 before Horace Spencer’s free throw and Harper’s layup gave the Tigers a 52-49 lead.
Tavin Lovan made two free throws and Bryant converted a three-point play for UAB before Harper made two free throws to tie the score again with four minutes left.
Harper’s layup put Auburn back on top, and he added two free throws for a 58-54 lead with two minutes left.
Okeke’s dunk pushed the lead to six before Bryant’s 3-pointer got UAB within 60-57 with 1:06 left.
Harper made two free throws, but Bell answered with a 3-pointer for UAB.
After Harper made one of two free throws to give the Tigers a 63-60 lead, Bell hit another 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to force overtime.
—Field Level Media