Saturday’s result proved to be reason for dread as Winthrop broke Auburn’s three-game winning streak with a final score of 74-67.
The game began the same way it ended, in a constant pursuit made by the Tigers to get on top and stay on top, which happened occasionally, but never for long.
Fouls played a crucial role in Winthrop’s victory and the free-throws made by the Eagles in the final seconds of a savage attempt by the Tigers to even the score proved fatal.
Auburn was down by 10 at 1:47 left in the game, but in a last-ditch effort the score was brought up to 65-70 with only 50 seconds remaining.
When a foul was called on Auburn with only 26 seconds left, the result proved too much to return from.
The large turnout of fans, which fought nearly as hard as the players the whole game through, could not take anymore and began leaving as the game was called with approximately 13 seconds left.
After the game Barbee said: “This game is always scary for every coach around the country; the one right before Christmas. You saw all around our conference, all around the country, teams getting beat at home.”
“The team that’s locked in and worried about winning first and then after the game thinking about what you’re going to do for the holidays, that is usually the team that wins. And obviously we weren’t thinking about winning because we didn’t think about defending, because they shot 50 percent from the floor; a team that shot 35 percent against every division one team they’ve played this year,” he said.
Senior guard Frankie Sullivan said: “We just came out real flat today and paid for it big time. They came out ready to play. We were behind the whole game, and it’s hard to come back with a team like that. They’re a great team.”
He continued saying: “The last five minutes, that’s when we turned it on … It was never expected it to win a ball game … They are going to make free-throws so you can’t really fight them like that, they got great free-throw shooters.”
“I will say this, our effort, it picked up in that last 5 minutes. You’ve got to sustain it for forty minutes not five minutes. I wouldn’t say that people were waiting on break. I blame it on guard play…” he said.
The next game is scheduled for the Dec. 29 at 1:15 p.m. in Chicago against Illinois.