Payne's Late Basket Lifts Tigers To Win

Auburn outscored Arkansas-Pine Bluff 11-0 in the final four minutes to win on Sunday.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn freshman Allen Payne's lay up off an inbounds pass with just over seven seconds left completed an 11-0 run by the Tigers in the final 4:04 as they came from behind to defeat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 76-72 Sunday at the Auburn Arena. Payne led the Tigers (3-4) with a career-high 16 points while Rob Chubb added 14 including two free throws with four seconds left to seal Auburn's second-straight win.

"It worked out," Barbee said of Payne's basket. "What I drew up didn't work but some of the greatest plays have come from broken plays. We had a broken play. Some guys didn't execute, forgot their assignment, whatever was the case. Tony (Neysmith) made a heck of a play and Allen made a heck of a play to read that backdoor."

Trailing 48-44 at the half after allowing the Golden Lions to make 61.5 percent of their shots in the first half, Auburn turned up the defensive effort in the second half and got busy on the backboards to pull out the win. Early on in the final 20 minutes though the visitors extended the lead to six at 52-46 on a layup fro Gavin Montgomery. Auburn stormed back with a 13-2 run over the next four and a half minutes with Payne scoring five points of those and Andre Malone capping off with a big three.

Ahead 59-54 with 13:23 left, Auburn would score just six points in the next eight minutes as the Golden Lions moved ahead 72-65 on a layup from Terrell Kennedy with 4:04 left in the contest. While Payne had been the guy for the game it was Chubb that proved to be the difference-maker down the stretch. A basket at the 3:47 mark cut the lead down to five before two Payne free throws made it a one possession game with just over three minutes remaining.

With 1:44 left Chubb was fouled going up for a shot and missed the first free throw before making the second to cut the lead down to two. Following a turnover on defense, Auburn got the ball back to Chubb once again and he was again fouled. Two more makes at the line tied the game and set the stage for the final minute.

Another turnover gave the ball back to Auburn with 43 seconds left and the Tigers called a timeout to set up a play for Chubb. Trying to get the ball to him Auburn instead was forced to attempt an off-balance shot by Payne at the end of the shot clock. Payne grabbed the rebound and Barbee called his final timeout.

With Neysmith inbounding the ball from the timeline, Auburn appeared like it was in trouble until Payne broke for the basket. Neysmith lofted the ball up perfectly and the freshman delivered to put the Tigers in front 74-72.

"It was a freestyle a little bit," Payne said. "The play was initially for us to try to look for Chubb in the post. My man lost sight of me and I was jumping up and down and going crazy and he did. I just tried to finish at the rim."

Another turnover gave the ball back to Auburn and they immediately got the ball back to Chubb. A 33 percent free throw shooter entering the game Barbee said he along with the rest of the team was put on notice this week that anyone under 75 percent would shoot free throws his way instead of their old way. That proved to be big for Chubb as he made his last five, including the final two, to seal the Auburn win.

"You've got to have a confidence and confidence comes through routine," Barbee said. "When I saw him go back to the routine we were coming back to him every single time because I knew they couldn't stop him. I knew they were going to foul him and I knew he was going to make his free throws."

The game was originally scheduled for 7 p.m. last night but because of the SEC Football Championship Game in Atlanta the Tigers decided to move the game to Sunday. While it didn't help the crowd much in terms of attendance, Barbee said they decided it was the right thing to do.

"It is what it is," Barbee said. "I understand what it is. Believe me, I'm caught up in the football hype that's why I was at the game yesterday cheering my head off. I didn't have a voice today because I'm up in Atlanta at the game going absolutely bonkers for that team. They are a special team and fun to watch. That's what we want to build on the basketball side but everybody understands it's going to take time and patience. We're going to get it there."

Auburn will take this week off before taking on Rutgers in Pittsburgh at 11:30 on Dec. 11.

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