Baker-Mazara comes off bench to score 19, lead No. 16 Auburn to 93-78 win over LSU

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AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Chad Baker-Mazara had 19 points and six steals off the bench and No. 16 Auburn won its ninth straight by double digits, 93-78 over LSU on Saturday night.

Auburn (14-2, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) had a season-high 16 steals and scored 26 points off of 17 turnovers from LSU (10-6, 2-1).

Johni Broome added 18 points and seven rebounds for Auburn, which shot 40% on 3-pointers.

“With the ability to get excited about playing every night, you know, I thought we did fairly well,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. “I thought we played good basketball in the first half. We shot it well, we turned them over.”

Auburn hit 27 of 31 free throws, giving the team its best percentage from the line in a game with at least 30 attempts since a win over Arkansas on Feb. 27, 2018. The Tigers are now shooting 75.5% on free throws as a team this season, which is on track to be the program’s best mark since the 2017-18 season.

LSU cut an early Auburn lead to two with 6:37 left in the first half, but Auburn closed with an 19-4 run to go into halftime with a 17-point lead. Auburn held LSU scoreless for more than five minutes of the run.

Auburn led by 28 in the second half before a 21-2 LSU run cut the hosts’ lead back to single-digits. Baker-Mazara then hit a 3-pointer with 4:13 remaining to reassert Auburn’s control.

“It killed their energy,” Baker-Mazara said. “Everybody got really excited, really hyped — and I feel like that was the start to our run back.”

Auburn has now won nine straight games for the first time since the 2021-22 season, when it won 19 in a row and climbed to No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time in school history.

LSU was led by Trae Hannibal and Jordan Wright with 18 points each. LSU shot 39% from 3-point range.

"(Auburn) does a great job of turning people over, but when 16 of those 17 turnovers are steals, that means you’re in big trouble in transition,” LSU head coach Matt McMahon said. “They made us pay for those. You’re really better off just throwing it up in the stands than having that many steals allowed in the game.”

Saturday marked the first game LSU has lost with transfer point guard Jalen Cook in the starting lineup. Cook, who made his debut in December, scored a season-low seven points and had five turnovers.

“He was splitting the ball screens some to start the game, and he was getting productive with that, so we just tried to slow that down,” Auburn point guard Aden Holloway said. “I feel like once we slowed that down, then it kind of messed his rhythm up a little bit.”

BIG PICTURE

LSU: High turnover rates have cost LSU in many of its losses this season, and Saturday was the latest example. The loss snapped the team's four-game winning streak.

Auburn: Bruce Pearl passed Cliff Ellis for the second-most wins by an Auburn head coach. His 187 victories with Auburn now only trails Joel Eaves, who had 213 from 1942 to 1963.

UP NEXT

LSU: Hosts Ole Miss on Wednesday.

Auburn: Visits Vanderbilt on Wednesday.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball