Men's Basketball Drops Finale at Auburn

LSU's Ralston Turner had 14 points.
LSU's Ralston Turner had 14 points.
Steve Franz
Associated Press
Associated Press
Associated Press

AUBURN, Ala. -- Frankie Sullivan matched his season high with 22 points and Auburn snapped a three-game losing streak in a 67-52 victory over LSU on Saturday in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Sullivan scored nine straight points to help Auburn (15-15, 5-11 Southeastern Conference) take control early in the second half and hand LSU (17-13, 7-9) its third consecutive defeat.

Kenny Gabriel scored 14 points in his home finale for Auburn, which had lost six of seven games, and Chris Denson had 12, making 8 of 12 free throws.

Ralston Turner led LSU with 14 points while John Isaac had nine. LSU had a chance to complete a turnaround with a .500 league mark after winning just five SEC games the previous two seasons combined, but couldn't get much offense going. LSU was on a four-game winning streak before stumbling in the stretch run.

Auburn secured the No. 10 seed in next week's SEC tournament in New Orleans.

LSU was just 17-of-50 shooting (34 percent) despite going 9 of 17 (52.9 percent) from 3-point range.

Auburn, which shot 52.2 percent (12 of 23) in the first half, opened the second on an 11-2 run to take a 45-31 lead five minutes in.

Sullivan, who rebounded from a 4-of-14 performance at Alabama, went on his solo spurt during that stretch. Auburn pushed the lead to 49-34 on Gabriel's jump shot with 11:08 to play.

LSU managed to cut the margin to 52-45 on Isaac's second 3-pointer of the half with 5:06 left before the comeback fizzled.

LSU went more than three minutes without making a field goal after that.

Auburn, the league's No. 11 foul-shooting team, hit 15 of 18 free throws down the stretch to keep the lead in double digits and continue expanding the cushion. The host Tigers were 23 of 31 from the line in the game, a 74.2 percent clip.

Auburn forced 17 turnovers and committed just 10.

LSU's starting frontcourt, Anthony Hickey and Johnny O'Bryant, struggled offensively. They were a combined 3-of-16 shooting for 11 points.

SEC Tournament First-Round Schedule
March 8-11, 2012
New Orleans, La. (New Orleans Arena)

First Round (March 8, 2012)
[8] LSU vs. [9] Arkansas, Noon CT
[5] Alabama vs. [12] South Carolina, 2:30 p.m. CT
[7] Ole Miss vs. [10] Auburn, 6:30 p.m. CT
[6] Mississippi State vs. [11] Georgia, 9:00 p.m. CT
Byes*: Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

* seeds of UF, UT and VU TBD



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