Tennessee Volunteers 77, Auburn Tigers 78: shooting improves, rebounding breaks

Well, well. What do you say about a 78-77 loss to Auburn that we really should have won? Auburn got off to a great start, but once their shooting cooled off (from about 75%) Tennessee caught up and they seemed like they were on the verge of seizing control of the game.

For the entire game.

Until the final buzzer.

The Vols shot well most of the game and finished 29-49 for a 59.2%. In the first half, they shot 58.3% from behind the arc, and although they didn't do quite so well in the second, they still finished with a respectable 39.1%.

What they couldn't do was stop Auburn. Rasheem Barrett, who averages 8.4 points per game, finished with 27, and Korvotney Barber, who averages 12.6 PPG finished with 21. Two other Tigers (DeWayne Reed and Lucas Hargrove) also finished in double figures.

At no time was this more evident than the last series. With Tennessee up 77-76 with :16 to go, Cameron Tatum fouled Hargrove. The good news was that Hargrove somehow missed both attempts. The bad news, of course, was that Barrett got the rebound. After dueling timeouts, Auburn finally inbounded the ball with a long pass into the backcourt. Wayne Chism stretched out and got finger on the ball, but Auburn got possession, and Chism was on the floor. With five-on-four and Tennessee scrambling on defense, Auburn found an open man under the basket, and the guy got an easy bucket and the lead. J.P. Prince drove down the floor in the five or so remaining seconds, but his desperation three-pointer was off the mark.

This team can be very frustrating. Just when you think things are coming together, something else goes wrong. Tennessee, who ranks 42nd in the nation in rebounding margin, simply could not come down with the boards and was outrebounded by Auburn, who's not even ranked in that category, 34-21. This is just another loss, and it doesn't necessarily mean that the Vols have no shot to make it to March, but every loss is making it more and more difficult.

Georgia is up Wednesday. What weakness will we have fixed by then? And what strength will we have broken?

Half-time and final stats after the jump.

Half-time stats:

Tennessee Logo
Auburn Logo
41
Points
43
15-25 (60%)
Field Goals
17-34 (50%)
7-12 (58.3%)
3-Point FGs
2-11 (18.2%)

4-8 (50%)

Free Throws
7-9 (77.8%)
14 (2-12)
Rebounds (Off-Def)
17 (7-10)
5
Turnovers
2

Final stats

Tennessee Logo
Auburn Logo
77
Points
78
29-49 (59.2%)
Field Goals
29-54 (53.7%)
9-23 (39.1%)
3-Point FGs
5-19 (26.3%)

10-17 (58.8%)

Free Throws
15-24 (62.5%)
21 (4-17)
Rebounds (Off-Def)
34 (14-20)
11
Turnovers
11

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