AUBURN, Ala. — This maddening nonconference schedule of Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s is over. Not that it ended well, either.
Auburn led 53-25 at halftime and went on to shoot 65.4 percent from the field Monday on its way to a 91-59 win against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Auburn Arena. The Golden Lions (2-10) close nonconference play on a 10-game losing streak and will now have to wait until SWAC play, which begins Saturday at Mississippi Valley State, to pick up its first victory against a Division I opponent.
Auburn (7-3) scored 17 unanswered points after UAPB’s first field goal, a three-point basket by Ghiavonni Robinson, to set the tone. The Lions never pulled within single digits from there and fell behind by 28 points at the break.
The Lions were much more competitive in the second half for the second straight game, as the Tigers outscored them 38-34. Eight days earlier at Iowa, the Lions had a 46-34 advantage against the Hawkeyes in the final 20 minutes.
Auburn coach Tony Barbee likes to have five players score in double digits, and he nearly got it Monday. K.T. Harrell had 19 points, three assists and four rebounds; Chris Denson tallied 17 points, four assists and five boards, and Dion Wade added 15 points for the Tigers, who have won their last three. Tahj Shamsid-Deen added nine and Allen Payne eight.
In all, 10 Tigers entered the scoring column. As part of their strong 34-of-52 field-goal shooting, they made 10 of 19 three-point shots. But they connected only 13 of 22 free throws.
Tevin Hammond scored 19 points and added five assists to lead the Lion. Davon Haynes racked up a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards, DeAndre McIntyre added 11 points, and Marcel Mosley had eight.
UAPB, which scored fewer points than its average (60.5 per game, ranking 340th out of 345 teams as of Sunday), shot poorly from the field again, making 21 of 64 shots for 32.8 percent. The Lions hit 8 of 20 from three-point range and made 9 of 17 free throws.