Marquis And The Tigers Are Still Dancing

Senior Marquis Daniels makes the big plays as Auburn defeats St. Joe's 65-63 in overtime to advance in the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Tampa, Fla.--Senior Marquis Daniels made key plays as the Tigers rallied from a four-point overtime deficit to survive and advance in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

Marquis Daniels

Daniels, who hit a big three-pointer with six seconds left in regulation, made an old-fashioned three-point play with 45.2 seconds left in overtime to push the Tigers on top 64-63.

After a defensive stand, Auburn stretched the lead to 65-63 when senior guard Derrick Bird hit the second of two foul shots with 8.5 seconds left. He then denied St. Joseph's star Jameer Nelson a shot and forced 6-5 sophomore Pat Carroll to throw up an off-balance three-point shot that was an air ball.

The Tigers got the ball with 0.7 left and passed the basketball into the frontcourt for the victory. Carroll, one of the nation's top three-point shooters, was shutout thanks to defense from Daniels and friends.

Auburn nearly won it in regulation, but Kyle Davis fouled Nelson with a half second left and the point guard calmly hit two free throws to tie the game at 57-57 and set up overtime. Nelson hit two three-point bombs in overtime to put the Hawks up 63-59 with 2:35 left. After an Auburn turnover, the Tigers were in trouble but Daniels started the comeback on a fastbreak stuff on a long pass from Davis, who was a major factor from start to finish.

Auburn took the lead at the 17:10 mark of the first half on an inside move by Killingsworth that put the Tigers on top 5-4. A pair of Kyle Davis slam dunks and a three-point shot at the 13:44 mark by Nathan Watson moved the Tigers in front 14-6.

Kyle Davis

Another Davis stuff at the 11:40 mark stretched the lead to nine and Auburn's lead reached double figures at the 9:39 mark on a Derrick Bird three-pointer that put the Tigers ahead 20-10.

An inside move by Killingsworth at the 6:27 mark stretched the lead to a dozen points at 24-12. The Hawks got the lead down to nine with under two minutes left in the half, but the Tigers got another three-pointer from Watson and an old-fashioned three-point play by Marquis Daniels to extend the lead to 13 at intermission at 32-29.

The Hawks turned up the defensive pressure early in the second half forcing turnovers that helped erase all of Åuburn's lead. A jumpshot by Nelson tied the game at 37-37 with 12:55 left. Daniels finally ended Auburn's scoring drought with an inside basket to put the Tigers ahead 38-37 at the 11:47 mark. It was the first score for Auburn since Killingsworth scored an old-fashioned three-pointer at the 17:10 mark.

Neither team could pull away the rest of the game. St. Joe's largest lead was the four-point edge in overtime.

Daniels hit 10-19 shots and two of four free throws for his 25 points. He added eight rebounds and four assists with two steals and just one turnover in 42 minutes of action.

Nelson played 45 minutes for the Hawks and hit 11-22 shots, seven of eight free throws and had no turnovers to go with one assist.

Auburn got 15 points and seven rebounds from Killingsworth and 11 points from Bird. Davis led Auburn in rebounding with nine, scored seven points and blocked four shots.

The Tigers hit 43.9 percent of their shots to 37.3 for St. Joe's. Auburn outrebounded the Hawks 38-36 and had 15 turnovers, three more than St. Joe's.

Auburn was 8-13 at the foul line and St. Joe's hit 13-16. Auburn made 7-18 threes to 6-24 for the losers.

Box Score

Editor's Note: (Jason Caldwell is at the St. Pete Times Forum and will have additional articles on the game.)

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