Auburn beats Vanderbilt 64-53 for rare win at Memorial Gym

Auburn beats Vanderbilt 64-53 for rare win at Memorial Gym
during the first half at Memorial Gym on February 16, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Source: Frederick Breedon)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jared Harper scored 16 points, and Auburn beat Vanderbilt 64-53 Saturday for the Tigers' first win at Memorial Gym since 2000.

Auburn (17-8, 6-6 Southeastern Conference) had lost 13 of the last 14 against Vanderbilt inside the league's oldest gym and had won only twice here since 1990. The Tigers survived a first half with their worst shooting performance in nearly a year to snap a nine-game skid to Vanderbilt along with their two-game skid this season.

The Commodores (9-16, 0-12) lost their 13th straight, putting them just a loss off the longest losing streak in school history set over the span of the 1934-35 and 1935-36 season.

Bryce Brown added 14 points for Auburn. Chuma Okeke and Malik Dunbar each had 13 apiece.

Aaron Nesmith led Vanderbilt with 24 points. Yanni Wetzell had 10.

Harper hit back-to-back 3s and finished his own 9-2 run giving Auburn its biggest lead at 43-33 with 10:44 to go.

The Commodores wouldn't go away, pulling within four twice within the final five minutes. Brown stole the ball from Matt Ryan to set up a Dunbar layup with 3:53 left. Wetzell scored on a tip-in for Vandy, and Nesmith followed with a pair of free throws pulling the Commodores within 57-53.

Vandy then forced a couple missed shots before coming away with the ball. Lee held the ball before trying to drive in only to be stripped by Anfernee McLemore, and Dunbar knocked down a 3 with 1:33 left. The Tigers finished the game scoring the final seven points.

Auburn led 27-23 after an ugly first half where the Tigers made only two field goals inside the arc with four more from 3 surviving a nearly 8-minute stretch without making a basket.

BIG PICTURE

Auburn: The Tigers survived their worst half of shooting since March 18, 2018, in the first half in a loss to Clemson in the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers went 6 of 24 for 25 percent. The shooting woes filtered into Auburn's shooting outside the arc. A team averaging 11.04 made 3s a game went 9 of 25.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores lost one of their key freshmen when Simisola Shittu fouled out for only the second time this season. He fouled out with 8:35 left and finished with a career-low 17 minute splayed. He also matched his fewest field goal attempts with two and finished with six points. It didn't help that point guard Saben Lee, who took over when Darius Garland was lost for the season, was held to four points for a second straight game.

UP NEXT

Auburn: Host Arkansas on Wednesday night.

Vanderbilt: Visits Tennessee on Tuesday night.

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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