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story.lead_photo.caption Auburn’s Horace Spencer shoots over Alabama’s Braxton Key in the Tigers’ 76-71 loss Wednesday night in Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

ALABAMA 76, NO. 17 AUBURN 71

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- John Petty scored 27 points, Dazon Ingram added 16, and short-handed Alabama defeated No. 17 Auburn 76-71 on Wednesday night.

Alabama played without its starting point guard and leading scorer, Collin Sexton, who sat out with an abdominal injury. But Petty more than made up for the loss. The freshman guard made eight of 13 three-point attempts and helped the Crimson Tide (12-6, 4-2 SEC) surge ahead of Auburn with a 15-5 run in the second half.

It wasn't always easy for Alabama. Coach Avery Johnson's team struggled to take care of the basketball without its primary ball handler. The Crimson Tide turned the ball over 12 times in the first half, just two shy of its average per game this season. On defense, it was Auburn guards Jared Harper and Mustapha Heron who forced the turnovers, generating four steals.

Despite the sloppy play, Alabama's three-point shooting helped hide some of the mistakes. Petty, who took Sexton's place in the starting lineup, knocked down three of his three-point baskets in the first half to help Alabama keep the game close.

Auburn (16-2, 4-1) was the better of the teams in the first half from long range, sinking seven of 15 shots from behind the arc, including a fader from Chuma Okeke at the first-half buzzer that gave the Tigers a three-point advantage into halftime.

Another freshman contributing to Alabama's second-half rally was Herbert Jones, who picked up his second foul of the game with eight minutes remaining in the first half, but returned to fill the stat sheet on both ends. The forward had 7 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 assists to go along with his 11 points. He scored the most crucial basket of the game, stopping the bleeding while extending Alabama's lead to five in the final minute.

Trailing by 10 with just under four minutes remaining, the Tigers were able to cut Alabama's lead to 2 by holding the Crimson Tide to 11 points down that stretch.

Bryce Brown scored a team-high 12 points for the Tigers.

Alabama moves to 4-2 in the conference with its first victory over Auburn in the last four tries.

Auburn remains the top team in the SEC despite the loss. The Tigers will have another chance against the Crimson Tide at home in February.

In other Top 25/SEC men's games Wednesday, No. 1 Villanova led by as many as 44 points and gave Georgetown Coach Patrick Ewing a rude welcome back to the schools' rivalry, handing the Hoyas their worst loss in more than 40 years, 88-56. Jalen Brunson led the way with 18 points and seven assists for Villanova (17-1, 5-1 Big East), which finished 17 for 33 on threes, while Georgetown (12-6, 2-5) went 4 for 15. It was 42-20 at halftime, and Georgetown to that point had more turnovers (nine) than made baskets, shooting 8 for 26, including 0 for 8 on threes. Villanova just kept pushing the margin after the break, going up by 30, then 40, and then reaching the apex at 88-44 on a layup by Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree with about 3½ minutes remaining. Less than a minute later, Villanova Coach Jay Wright finally sent in the subs and pulled any remaining starters. ... Shake Milton hit five three-pointers en route to a career-best 33 points and SMU beat No. 7 Wichita State 83-78. Wichita State (15-3, 5-1 American Athletic Conference) had won 27 consecutive and 67 of 68 at Koch Arena. The Mustangs (13-6, 3-3) snapped a three-game skid with their first victory since Dec. 31. It was their first road victory against a top-10 team since Jan. 16, 1982, at No. 10 Houston. Milton was 11 of 14 from the floor and 5 of 6 from deep while playing 40 minutes. Jahmal McMurray scored 16 points for the Mustangs, who shot 63.8 percent. Ethan Chargois had 12 points, and Ben Emelogu added 10. Landry Shamet led the Shockers with 20 points, and Shaquille Morris scored 17. Darral Willis scored 12 points off the bench, and Conner Frankamp added 11. ... Kerwin Roach II scored 20 points in a surprise return to the lineup and Texas got another home victory over a Top 25 opponent in a week, beating No. 8 Texas Tech 67-58. Roach, who had missed the previous two games with a fracture in his left, non-shooting hand, was expected to miss a few more. But he suited up for pregame warmups and was cleared to play right before tipoff. Texas (12-6, 2-3 Big 12) led by 13 early in the second half before the Red Raiders rallied to get within four. But the Longhorns got two big three-pointers by Eric Davis, Jr., including one with 3:28 left that pushed the lead back to 10. Jarrett Culver scored 16 points to lead Texas Tech (15-3, 4-2).... Kerem Kanter had 22 points and led a late run that swept No. 11 Xavier (17-3, 5-3 Big East) to an 88-82 victory over St. John’s (10-9, 0-7), giving Chris Mack the Musketeers record for career coaching victories. Mack got his 203rd coaching victory at his alma mater, passing Pete Gillen for the school record in his ninth season. ... Deandre Ayton had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and No. 14 Arizona (15-4, 5-1 Pac-12) overcame a slow, sloppy start to beat California (7-12, 1-5) 79-58. Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 14 points with 3 three-pointers during a decisive stretch spanning halftime as the Wildcats won their third consecutive since losing at Colorado on Jan. 6. ... Marcus Foster scored 25 points and reserve Ronnie Harrell Jr. had a career-high 18, and Creighton never trailed in an 80-63 victory over No. 19 Seton Hall. The Bluejays (15-4, 5-2 Big East) split the season series with the Pirates (15-4, 4-2), avenging a 90-84 road loss last month in which they blew a double-digit lead and failed to score the last 3 ½ minutes. ... Kevin Puryear had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Missouri rallied in the second half to beat No. 21 Tennessee 59-55. Jontay Porter added 10 points and seven rebounds for Missouri (13-5, 3-2 SEC) and Grant Williams led Tennessee (12-5, 3-3) with 15 points. ... Chris Holtmann became the first coach in 95 years to win his first seven Big Ten games as No. 22 Ohio State (16-4, 7-0) defeated Northwestern (11-9, 2-5) 71-65. C.J. Jackson had 12 points, 8 assists and 3 steals, and Micah Potter scored 13 points off the bench, for the Buckeyes. Vic Law scored 14 points and Scottie Lindsey added 13 for Northwestern. ... Vladimir Brodziansky had 26 points and No. 24 TCU snapped a three-game losing streak with a 96-73 victory over Iowa State. Alex Robinson, who started at point guard, scored eight points and had a school-record 17 assists for the Horned Frogs (14-4, 2-4 Big 12). Donovan Jackson had 19 points for Iowa State (10-6, 1-5).

TUESDAY NIGHT’S LATE GAMES

SOUTH CAROLINA 76,

NO. 18 KENTUCKY 68

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Chris Silva tied his career high with 27 points and South Carolina rallied from 14-points down in the second half to top No. 18 Kentucky. The Gamecocks (12-6, 3-3 SEC) seemed done after Kevin Knox’s short jumper with 12:28 to go put the Wildcats ahead 54-40. But that’s when South Carolina, fueled by the powerful, 6-foot-9 Silva, got going and outscored Kentucky (14-4, 4-2) 36-14 the rest of the way to pull off the upset.

Silva had 12 points in that stretch to lift the Gamecocks.

Knox led Kentucky with 21 points.

KANSAS STATE 87,

NO. 4 OKLAHOMA 69

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Barry Brown scored 24 points, Dean Wade added 21 and Kansas State frustrated Oklahoma star Trae Young all game in springing an upset on the No. 4 Sooners.

Cartier Diarra added 16 points and Xavier Sneed had 13 for the plucky, defensive-minded Wildcats (13-5, 3-3 Big 12), who bounced back from a last-second letdown against bitter rival Kansas with their sixth consecutive win over the Sooners at Bramlage Coliseum.

Young was held to 20 points on 8-of-21 shooting, his fewest since scoring 15 in his college debut.

Rashard Odomes had 16 points and Brady Manek had 12 for the Sooners (14-3, 4-2).

TEXAS A&M 71,

MISSISSIPPI 69

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Tyler Davis scored 20 points, including Texas A&M’s final basket, and the Aggies defeated Mississippi for A&M’s first victory in SEC play this season.

With the scored tied at 69-69, Davis missed a short jumper but grabbed the rebound for the putback and a 71-69 A&M lead with 22.7 seconds remaining. The Rebels’ Breein Tyree missed a three-point attempt at the other end that rattled in and out as time expired, and the Aggies could finally celebrate an SEC victory.

A&M (12-6, 1-5 SEC) led 64-62 with 3:19 left after Robert Williams collected an alley-oop pass from Duane Wilson and slammed the ball home. On the other end, Williams blocked a shot following a Rebels offensive rebound, and D.J. Hogg made a three-pointer from the far right corner to lift A&M to a 69-62 lead with 2:51 left.

Sports on 01/18/2018

Print Headline: Short-handed Alabama gets help from Petty's 27

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