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UConn Falls To Auburn in OT, 70-67

Dec. 23, 2016

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Auburn coach Bruce Pearl says point guard Jared Harper proves there is still room for the little guy in the game of basketball.

Harper scored 22 points, including a key layup in overtime and Auburn won its fourth consecutive game, 70-67 over UConn on Friday afternoon.

Connecticut native Mustapha Heron added 15 points and Danjel Purifoy had a career-high 15 rebounds for the Tigers, who are 10-2 for the first time since the 2002-03 season.

Harper, who is generously listed at 5 feet 10, also grabbed five rebounds, had five assists and four steals.

''He's special, he had no SEC offers when we committed him, because obviously of his size,'' said Pearl. ''But, you can't measure his heart. He's got a future in the game.''

Rodney Purvis scored 20 points to lead UConn (5-6) and Kentan Facey had 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Auburn seemed to have the game under control until T.J. Dunans was called for an intentional foul for dragging down a driving Purvis with 80 seconds left and the Tiger's up 60-54. Purvis hit the free throws and a jumper by Facey cut the lead to 60-58.

Amida Brimah tied the game with a short baseline jumper on the Huskies next possession and Harper missed a long 3-pointer, sending the game into extra time.

''We knew there was going to be adversity in the game,'' Harper said. ''We're on the road against a great team. We knew we'd have to come together at the end to win it.''

Purifoy hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 67 in the extra frame and Harper's layup high off the glass with 22 seconds left in overtime gave Auburn a 69-67 lead.

UConn's Vance Jackson missed a 3-pointer on the other end and Heron hit a free throw for the game's final point.

Purvis missed two 3-pointers on UConn's final possession including a shot from the right baseline at the buzzer that would have tied the game.

Auburn hit just two of its first 14 shots and trailed for almost the entire first half.

But UConn failed to take advantage and never led by more than seven points. The Huskies were up by a point, 31-30, at the break.

Auburn shot just 32.9 percent from the floor, but held the Huskies to 35.4 percent.

''The majority of the game we were good defensively,'' said Facey, who also had four of the Huskies 10 blocked shots. ''It came down to a few key stops that we needed to get that we never got.''


UConn: The Huskies are off until Dec. 28 when they open their American Athletic Conference season in Hartford with an afternoon game against Houston.