Auburn showed no defensive resistance to Arkansas in a blowout loss in Bud Walton Arena.
For one of the first times this season, No. 14-ranked Auburn reverted back to its lack of effort, intensity and urgency on the defensive end of the floor as Arkansas easily handled the Tigers 91-82. The Razorbacks won their 38th straight game when up at halftime and shot 52 percent from the field and beyond the 3-point arc.
Auburn missed 14 of its first 20 shots and never led after going up 3-0 just 39 seconds into the game.
With the loss Tuesday night, Auburn (24-6, 12-5 SEC) has lost its season-long lead in the league standings after Tennessee won at Mississippi State before the game in Arkansas tipped off. The two teams are tied for the top spot.
On Saturday, the Tigers will face South Carolina at home, while Tennessee will host Georgia. An Auburn win will guarantee at least a co-championship. Also, the Tigers hold the edge in the tiebreaker, so if the two teams tie, Auburn will get the No. 1 seed for the SEC tournament in St. Louis.
Senior guard Jaylen Barford, who was one of seven Arkansas players honored for its “Senior Night” celebration, finished with 18 points. Daryl Macon made his only four shots from beyond the 3-point arc and closed with 16 points in 27 minutes.
When Arkansas (21-9, 10-7) wasn’t shooting mostly uncontested 3-point shots, freshman center Daniel Gafford was getting dunks on his way to 21 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks as he dominated against a smaller Auburn frontcourt. Arkansas got 16 dunks and layups Tuesday night as the Razorbacks scored the most points against Auburn this season.
The shooting slump of Bryce Brown continued Tuesday night as the junior guard, who came in missing 31 of his last 41 field goal attempts, missed his first six 3-point attempts on his way to 12-point effort. Mustapha Heron, who leads Auburn in scoring this season, finished with a game-high 26 points and eight rebounds. Brown, who has seen his production drop since suffering injuries to his right shoulder and foot, was ineffective on defense as well.
Auburn got nothing but foul trouble out its limited frontcourt players as Desean Murray, Horace Spencer and Chuma Okeke all finished with no more than five points.