Winthrop couldn’t overcome two big runs by Auburn in the second half as the Eagles fell 80-62 Wednesday night at Auburn Arena.
The loss drops the Eagles to 4-5 on the year as they will look to get back to .500 on the season on Friday at Southeast Louisiana at 8 p.m. Auburn improves to 4-5 on the year.
The Eagles trailed 47-44 after Xavier Cooks beat the Tigers down the floor to finish a long pass from Andre Smith, but Auburn responded with a 9-0 run for a 56-44 lead with 10:42 remaining in the game. That run was almost immediately followed by an 11-4 run that put the Tigers ahead, 67-50. The second run was highlighted by back-to-back dunks by Antoine Mason and Cinmeon Bowers that put Auburn up 16.
Tevin Prescott scored a career-high 17 points as he was 7-for-10 from the field and pulled down seven rebounds. Andre Smith finished with 12 points on 5-for-14 shooting and also had six assists to one turnover in 38 minutes of action. Keon Moore managed 12 points but struggled from the floor going 4-for-21 and was just 2-for-11 from three. As a team the Eagles were 4-for-27 behind the arc (15 percent).
Bowers led four Auburn players in double-figures with 19 points as he also hauled in 17 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the year. KT Harrell added 14 points while Mason had 13. The Tigers shot 44 percent from the field and were 19-for-34 at the foul line.
Trailing by eight points at the break, Winthrop found itself down by 10 in the first minute of the second half after a Bowers basket inside. Prescott boarded a missed three by Keon Moore and scored to start an 8-0 run by the Eagles to pull within 42-40 with 17:18 on the clock. Joseph Lopez missed two free throws for an opportunity to tie the game and just a couple of minutes later the Tigers went on the 9-0 run.
Winthrop got off to a slow start making just three of its first 14 shots as it trailed 23-9 after a lay-up by Mason, which capped off a 14-3 run by the Tigers. After a Cooks runner in the lane made it a four-point contest at 13-9 with 14:40 left in the half, the Tigers scored the next 10 points to build the 14-point advantage.
Prescott ended the Auburn run as he got a baseline jumper to fall as the Eagles scored six straight points as Derrick Henry scored on drives to the basket the next two Winthrop possessions to cut the deficit to 23-15 just over 10 minutes left. Auburn immediately pushed the lead back to 10 points and led 28-18 after a Bowers basket inside with 7:53 remaining.
A response by Winthrop came from Smith as he drove the lane and was fouled as he completed the three-point play to make it a seven-point game. That ignited a 12-5 run by the Eagles as they pulled within a point at 31-30 after Prescott knocked down an elbow jumper. Winthrop got stops defensively that it needed to get back in the game and make it a one possession game.
The Eagles were outscored 9-1 by the Tigers to end the half after they pulled within a point and trailed 40-32 at the break. The Eagles shot just 35 percent from the floor in the first half and were just 4-for-10 at the foul line and 2-for-14 behind the arc. Auburn was 43 percent from the field, 43 percent behind the arc and 61 percent at the line in the first 20 minutes.