GREENVILLE, S.C. — Vanderbilt freshman Koi Love set a career-high with 26 points Wednesday, but the Commodores turned the ball over 25 times and their season ended in a 77-67 loss to Auburn in the opening round of the SEC Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Down 60-59 with 7:26 to go, Vanderbilt picked the worst time to go cold. The Commodores went 6:34 without a point – and Auburn took advantage with an 13-0 run to build a 73-59 lead.
That was too much for Vandy to overcome.
Auburn (11-17) advances to face Arkansas (22-7) at 1:30 p.m. CT Thursday.
The Commodores also got 12 points each from Fasoula and junior guard Chelsie Hall in the loss. They were outscored 43-32 in the second half and the Tigers scored 31 points off those aforementioned 25 Vandy turnovers.
Unique Thompson led Auburn with 21. The Tigers took 2 of 3 from Vandy after losing the season’s first matchup by 22 points.
The opening quarter Wednesday saw five leads changes and each squad built an advantage of at least four. Auburn appeared to have the momentum with an 18-14 edge under a minute, but Love hit a baseline jumper at the buzzer making it 18-16 going into the second.
Vandy found some separation early in the second quarter thanks to a Love jumper in the paint that made it 24-18. The Tigers responded with a 7-0 run before a Jordyn Cambridge jumper broke a nearly four-minute scoreless drought to give the Dores the lead back at 26-25.
That started Vanderbilt in the other direction in what turned out to be an 11-2 run that was capped off by a Love three-point play making it 35-27. Auburn had one last response and Erin Howard’s 3 at the buzzer drew the Tigers within 35-34 going into the break.
Vanderbilt got 17 from Love in the first half and had 14 assists on 14 made field goals, but also turned the ball over 11 times.
Each side started slow in the third quarter and neither team could get much going offensively until Howard hit a 3 from the top of the key making it 42-39 Auburn. The Tigers pulled away even more toward the end of the period thanks to back-to-back buckets from Daisa Alexander made it a 51-44 game.
Auburn would hold onto that seven-point lead, 55-48, going into the fourth.
Vanderbilt quickly stormed back to begin the fourth and was within 58-57 and then 60-59 on two straight Fasoula scores. That was answered to consecutive makes from the Tigers making it 64-59.
That’s where the score stood before the clock crept under the 5-minute mark and the Tigers put the game to rest.
• With 3:32 left in the second quarter, Cambridge was helped off the court with an apparent left leg injury.
• Vanderbilt now leads the series with Auburn 29-24.
• The Commodores are now 5-1 against Auburn at the SEC Tournament.
• Vandy finished 12-4 this season when leading at halftime.
• Auburn and Vandy met for the third time in a single season for just the second time – the two programs also played thrice in the 2003-04 campaign.
• Vanderbilt last won an SEC Tournament game in 2016.
• The Dores are now 48-35 in SEC Tournament games and 1-4 in such games played in Greenville.
• Cambridge finished the season with has 85 steals, the eighth-most in a single Vanderbilt season. Karen Booker and Jade Huntington (87) are eighth and Donna Atkinson is seventh.
• Hall is now 84 points away from becoming the program’s 38th player to score 1,000 career points.