Auburn used an 18-3 run and shot 14-for-26 from the floor during the second half en route to a 68-63 victory over the LSU men's basketball team Wednesday at Auburn Arena during the SEC opener for both teams.
Charles Carmouche caught fire late
The 63 points for LSU (9-3, 0-1 SEC) was a season-low as the Tigers lost their opening SEC outing under first-year coach Johnny Jones.
Auburn (7-7, 1-0 SEC) snapped a five-game losing streak in SEC openers and have won eight of the last 12 meetings over LSU going back to the 2006-07 season.
Carmouche picked up 11 of his team-leading 15 points over the final 61 seconds of the game after he misfired on 11 of his first 12 attempts. He also tallied seven assists and six rebounds.
Hickey and Stringer chipped in 13 points each on a combined 11-for-24 shooting. Hickey, who returned to the starting lineup for the first time since the Seton Hall game on November 27, also came away with five rebounds, four assists and three assists over a season's best 37 minutes.
Shavon Coleman was held to a season's low four points but pulled down nine rebounds, while Johnny O'Bryant III added six points and seven rebounds despite playing through foul trouble for a majority of the contest.
Auburn used a balanced scoring attack as all eight players who saw action scored at least five points. Allen Payne led the way with 15 points, two away from his career-high, on a 7-for-12 clip.
Shaquille Johnson tacked on 11 points and nine rebounds, while Rob Chubb secured eight points to go along with eight rebounds. LSU's defense held Frankie Sullivan, who entered the game second among the SEC scoring leaders, to 10 points on a 3-for-10 shooting effort.
Auburn fired out to a 7-0 advantage in the game's opening moments behind Payne. He knocked down a three-pointer, a lay-up and a mid-range jumper.
Down 19-11 at the 9:22 mark of the first half, LSU ripped off 13 of the next 16 points and locked up Auburn to only one field goal over the next seven minutes.
Stringer ignited the spurt with a three-ball followed by back-to-back O'Bryant buckets. Andrew Del Piero provided a dunk before lay-ups from Stringer and Coleman gave LSU its first lead at 24-22. A Hickey runner off the glass with six seconds left enabled LSU to take a 28-27 lead into the locker room.
During the opening minute of the second half, Stringer buried a three-ball coupled with a Hickey steal and lay-up to extend LSU's advantage to 33-27.
Auburn, however, came away with an 18-3 run and hit seven of nine shots to turn a 37-33 deficit into a 51-40 advantage with 8:06 left.
Auburn led by as many as 14, 64-50, with just over a minute to play. Carmouche drained a trio of three-pointers and added a lay-up over the final 61 seconds to draw LSU back to the 68-63 final margin.
LSU opens the home portion of its SEC schedule Saturday as No. 11 Florida visits the Maravich Center. Tip time is on-tap for 3 p.m., and the game will be carried live by ESPNU.