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November 9, 2007A late run by Auburn came up short as Tulane defeated the Tigers 77-62 in the season opener for both teams Friday night.
Tulane led by as many as 21 points in the second half but a 20-7 run closed the gap to eight points, 63-55, when Rasheem Barrett hit a jumper with 4:05 left on the clock.
Following a timeout, Tulane's Kevin Sims hit a 3-pointer to give the Wave a double-digit lead and Auburn never threatened again.
"We cut it to eight with about four to go and I thought Sims made a really tough shot to put them up by 11," said AU head coach Jeff Lebo.
"We had a lot of plays where we got the ball inside and we could have had three-point plays and came away with nothing. We've got to finish in traffic a little bit better."
Tulane's Donnie Stith scored 12 points to lead three Green Wave players in double figures.
Auburn got off to a hot start burying its first three 3-pointers to take a 9-4 lead, but Tulane roared back and tied the game on a trey by sophomore Eric Vianney.
Tulane hit its first four shots, while Auburn hit three of its first five shots. The teams traded the lead before Auburn's Quantez Robertson hit a jumper to tie the contest at 16 apiece.
From there, it was all Tulane.
Asim McQueen came off the bench to hit a free throw and Vianney followed up with a second 3-pointer to ignite a 12-2 run and the Wave never looked back.
McQueen knocked down two more free throws to give Tulane a 28-18 advantage with 6:07 remaining in the opening period.
Auburn cut the lead to seven points on a pair of free throws from Barrett with under four minutes remaining, but Tulane connected on six straight free throws and Johnny Mayhane drained his third 3-pointer of the half to give Tulane a 38-27 advantage at intermission.
In the second half, Tulane continued to pressure the Tigers on defense and extended its lead to 21 points with 10:01 remaining.
Sims added 11 points and six assists for Tulane, while Vianney had 10 points.
Barrett led all scorers with 16 points, while DeWayne Reed and Korvotney Barber each added 11. Barber also collected a game-best 10 rebounds.
The Tigers shot 38.9 percent from the floor and only 48.1 percent from the free throw line.
"We got some good looks tonight and couldn't put it in the basket," said Lebo. "The free throw shooting is a very frustrating thing for me to watch as a coach. We left way too many points on the free throw line."
Auburn (0-1) will return to action Tuesday in the home-opener against Kennesaw State. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.