Seminoles Hold Off Tigers in Tallahassee

Florida State held off a second half Auburn comeback to hang on for a basketball victory vs. the Tigers.

Tallahassee, Fla.--Foul trouble for the Tigers and the home team's foul shooting proved to be too much for Auburn to overcome as Florida State hung on for a 76-72 basketball victory over the visiting Tigers on Thursday night.

The Seminoles outscored the Tigers by 17 points at the foul line where Auburn made 7-13 attempts and FSU made 24-34. Auburn had three players foul out in the game. FSU had no player with more than three fouls.

The Tigers fell to 5-5 this season while FSU improved its record to 9-2.

Auburn was led by Frankie Sullivan, one of the three Tigers who fouled out of the game. He finished the contest with 17 points and a career-high nine rebounds. Brendon Knox and Johnnie Lett also fouled out.

DeWayne Reed, who was also in foul trouble, scored 17 points for Auburn. Tay Waller added 15 and Lucas Hargrove, another player in foul trouble, finished with 13 points.

FSU was paced by 22 points and nine rebounds from 7-1 center Solomon Alabi.

"Obviously the big difference there was the foul line," Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said. "They got 34 foul shots to 13. We knew it was going to be a little bit like that, but it is hard to overcome when they beat you that badly on the foul line."

Lebo added "it was a frustrating game to manage" because of his team's foul issues. "DeWayne Reed and Lucas Hargrove did not play very much the first half. They did not have a bucket between them and we were still in striking distance here on the road. We finally got it going a little bit in the second half." Auburn trailed 33-25 at halftime.

Auburn was also out-rebounded 44-33 by the Seminoles, but the Tigers forced 19 turnovers, nine more than they committed, and that helped keep the game close.

Auburn fell behind 49-35 in the second half before rallying to tie the game at 59-59 with 6:46 remaining on a three-point basket by Sullivan. That was the first time the Tigers didn't trail since they led 12-10 in the opening minutes.

With the game tied at 63-63 with 4:41 to play the Seminoles scored four uncontested points and led the rest of way. Auburn cut the margin to 69-67 on a three-pointer by Hargrove with 1:01 left, but that was as close as the Tigers could get as Alabi scored inside with 36 seconds left and added a free throw on the play to stretch the lead to five.

"I thought we did some good things," Lebo said. "We had a couple of chances to get over the hump. We missed a couple of good looks from three.

"I told my team you are getting better, stay together, I have seen you get better over the break. I think you did some good things here tonight.

"We still haven't shot the ball like I think we are capable of shooting the basketball," Lebo added. "That has got to be our strong point. We aren't going to dominate you with our inside game, but stay together, keep working hard, keep that intensity and good things will happen."

The Tigers hit just 36.1 percent of their field goals making 26-72 field goals. They were 13-39 on threes.

FSU hit 23-47 field goals for 48.9 percent and 6-15 threes.

Auburn returns to action with a 1 p.m. home game on Sunday vs. Sam Houston State.

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