Freshman, Senior Spark Auburn's Road Win

Senior center Rob Chubb's double-double and freshman guard Brian Greene's play off the bench helped Auburn defeat the Gamecocks for an SEC basketball road victory.

Columbia, S.C.--The Auburn Tigers are off to a 2-0 start in SEC men's basketball play for the first time in 10 seasons as they won 74-71 at South Carolina on Saturday.

Coach Tony Barbee's team got 14 points off the bench from freshman Brian  Greene along with a double-double from senior center Rob Chubb, who scored 16 points and pulled in a team-leading 10 rebounds. Frankie Sullivan added 17 points to lead the Tigers in scoring.

For Greene it was his top scoring game as a Tiger. He was a perfect six-of-six from the field in 28 minutes of action as he stepped up with the Tigers missing guards Chris Denson and Jordan Price with injuries.

The freshman made a pair of treys, blocked a shot and added one assist. "We went through a lot of adversity in this game," Greene said. "We were short-handed so this was a really good win."

Brian Greene scores on a layup vs. the Gamecocks.

Chubb was 4-5 from the field and 8-9 at the foul line for the Tigers, who shot 58.5 percent from the field and 44.3 on three-pointers.

The Tigers hit 24-41 field goals, 8-18 treys and 18-28 free throws. South Carolina made 26-57 field goals for 45.6 percent. The Gamecocks were 8-20 on threes and 11-16 at the foul line.

Auburn took the lead for good with 2:41 left to go at 73-71 on a pair of free throws by Sullivan.

Neither team scored again until 35 seconds remained. Chubb was fouled on a rebound. He made the first of his two free throws and missed the second, leaving the margin at three points.

Bruce Ellington, who paced the Gamecocks in scoring with 18 points, had an opportunity to tie the game, but missed an off-balance three-point shot and Auburn got the rebound and ran out the clock before the home team could foul.

Barbee said the Tigers planned to foul after calling a timeout with 9.3 seconds left and the Gamecocks having the ball, but noted that wasn't necessary. "They had some problems executing what they were trying to run and they got forced into a bad three-point shot down in that corner," the coach said.

The game was close from start to finish. Neither side could build a large lead. The Gamecocks moved ahead 20-14 in the first half, but Noel Johnson's three-pointer put the Tigers on top 21-20 with 9:42 left in the opening half.

Frankie Sullivan battles for a rebound vs. South Carolina.

Auburn's largest lead was just four points at the 16:03 mark after back-to-back treys by Sullivan, but South Carolina wouldn't let the Tigers pull away. The Gamecocks built a four-point edge on a three-pointer by Damien Leonard, who scored 17 points, to make the score 61-57 with 8:15 remaining.

The Tigers pulled ahead again with 6:44 to play on a three-pointer by Greene, who added another trey at the 5:03 mark to put AU ahead 67-66.

"I am so proud of my guys," Barbee said, who didn't allow South Carolina to score after Ellington hit a jump shot with 3:10 left in the game to tie the contest at 71-71.

"We are still not a finished product yet, but we are getting closer to what is important, which is our identity," the coach said. "That is grittiness and toughness. That shows up when adversity hits.

"We weren't so tough early in the season," Barbee added. "We let adversity effect us. We haven't in that little run we have been on.

"It was a physical game," the Auburn coach pointed out. "You know it is going to be like that when you play against a Frank Martin coached team. We got in some foul trouble, adversity right there, but we had some guys step up."

Rob Chubb pulls in one of his 10 rebounds.

Noel Johnson fouled out with nine points for the Tigers and Allen Payne added eight points.

Auburn improved to 8-7 with the victory while the Gamecocks fell to 10-4 overall and 0-2 in the SEC.

Another Freshman: Although he didn't score or have a rebound, Barbee praised the defensive play of forward Jordon Granger, who played six minutes off the bench and was on the floor for AU's defensive stand at the end of the game.

Starting Lineup: Barbee stayed with his three-guard lineup featuring Shaquille Johnson, Frankie Sullivan and Josh Wallace along with center Rob Chubb and forward Allen Payne.

Season High: Auburn's 58.5 percent field goal shooting was its best of the season.

Point Guard Presence: Wallace finished the game with just one point, but he added seven assists with just two turnovers. Sullivan added five assists.

Halftime Numbers: The Gamecocks led by a point at the break even though the Tigers made 60 percent of their shots (12-20). South Carolina shot 48.4 percent, but launched 11 more field goals than the visitors. Both teams were 4-10 on threes. Auburn was 10-18 at the free throw line in the first half while South Carolina made 5-6.

Each team had 14 turnovers at the half. Auburn turned the ball over 13 times, leading to 16 of South Carolina's 39 first half points. The Gamecocks turned the ball over nine times leading to seven Auburn points.

Noel Johnson led the Tigers in scoring at the break with nine while Sullivan was next with seven points.

Up Next: The Tigers travel to Fayetteville for a Wednesday 7 p.m. contest vs. Arkansas.

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