The three words that every Alabama Crimson Tide fan loves to hear: Alabama beats Auburn. The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the eighth-ranked Auburn Tigers inside Coleman Coliseum, 79-75, on a wet and rainy night in Tuscaloosa. The SEC scoring leader, Mark Sears, led the Crimson Tide in points once again, finishing with 22. Rylan Griffen, coming off the bench to become the spark plug, finished with 17 points; Latrell Wrightsell, regaining momentum from a poor shooting night at Tennessee, finished with 14; and Grant Nelson, who has been struggling to find something to work offensively, finished with 14 points.

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Coleman was packed from the top down and was electric even before tip-off. The energy was more electric than Coleman Colesium's lighting system, which went out at the beginning of the game. The contest was delayed for approximately 15 minutes due to one side of the court having lights and the other having no lights outside of the pregame red lights showing.

This is just another humorous incident that happens when these two schools play. It makes people think of Super Bowl XLVIII when Beyoncé performed in the New Orleans Super Dome halftime show, and then half of the stadium's lights went out in the second half of the game.

Auburn got going once the lights came on, scoring the first six points of the game, and Alabama needed something or someone to get going, and Rylan Griffen was that person.

Griffen scored 12 consecutive points, including four three-pointers in a row, which not only energized the team but also electrified Alabama fans. The Texas native had started the majority of the season, but tonight he came off the bench when Wrightsell Jr. started.

"I got a good feel for the game," Griffen on the news of him coming off the bench. "Coming off the bench I could see where we needed improvement and just trying to bring that and just seeing that on the bench so whatever role that I got to play to win games like that I'm going to do it."

The Crimson Tide used that spark to go up nine points and hold the eighth-ranked team in the country to only one three-pointer in the first half. Auburn came into the matchup shooting 33.9% from deep, but the "Good Guys," as play-by-play caller Chris Stewart would say, held them to 1-10 from the three-point line.

After a difficult loss to Tennessee last weekend, the Crimson Tide's hot shooting and much-improved defense allowed them to take control of the game in the first half. But, many of the same problems from that game did resurface tonight as Alabama was still giving the ball away at times. Auburn forced seven turnovers, while Alabama forced nine on their rival.

Alabama scored seven straight points going into halftime, and the crowd loved it. Especially if they were wearing crimson and red.

After Auburn scored nine points in a row to start the second half, things became a little more intriguing. A large number of Auburn fans traveled from just off of Montgomery and Highway 82 in an attempt to out-fan the home crowd, and for a little while, it succeeded.

Although Auburn had a slight advantage, this Alabama team persevered and showed incredible fortitude to overcome it.

Grant Nelson, who had been struggling offensively, began the game with a confused and disbelieving expression on his face. Despite shooting only 28% from 3-point range, his teammates encouraged him and knew he would find a way to get going.

"My confidence wasn't all there," Nelson said. "Rylan talked to me on the bench and he challenged me and I took that and ran with it. I appreciate these guys getting on me and I feel like we need that we need to get on each other not just the coaches but us coaching each other."

Nelson's And-1 slam over All-Conference forward Johni Broome may have been the game's highlight, reigniting the home crowd and providing Nelson with the spark he needed.

"That ball is a little slippery, I air-balled twice today," Nelson said. "Our guys are getting in there crashing on the boards. Mo Dioubate got that rebound and I just saw an open lane cut and I was going. It's great to see this team working hard and it pays off." 

This crowd featured a lot of well-known faces in attendance including, Alabama football players Jalen Milroe and Malachi Moore, Nick Dunlap who just came off winning the American Express Tour, local social media star "Roll Tide" Willie, and Duke legend Jay Williams on call tonight as he was in Coleman early this season when the Tide played Clemson and called the environment a "Tennis Match". Of course, Bama fans did not take that kindly and tonight that challenge was accepted.

"That environment was crazy," Nelson said. "It is nice to have that every game at home but just us finishing games... it's good that we're learning and growing and it's a fun group to play with."

The crowd was also treated to a back-and-forth game as both teams were trading haymakers early in the second half. Auburn took the lead after a turnover from Aaron Estrada, who did not have his finest game, but Sears immediately gave it back to Alabama with a layup and a foul shot.

Griffen hit his fifth three-pointer of the night, giving Alabama a five-point lead late in the game. Despite the tight game, the crowd was on their feet.

With less than two minutes left in the game, Grant Nelson scored four straight baskets to put the Tide ahead by five, one of which was a putback dunk following a missed layup by Sears. Auburn then made two free throws.

Auburn had a chance to tie the game after a questionable shooting foul was called on Nelson with 12 seconds left. Auburn's Chad Baker-Mazara made his first two free throws but missed the tying free throw, and Nelson grabbed his 11th rebound of the night and made one of two free throws to put Alabama up by three points.

Auburn had one more chance to tie the game, but they were fouled and had to shoot two free throws. Forward Jaylin Williams went 1-2 from the line, sealing the victory as the Crimson Tide celebrated their victory over Auburn on the court, as well as their victory off the court, as 5-star recruit Ryan Williams recommitted to Alabama.

Alabama will be back in Coleman this weekend hopefully with better lighting as the LSU Tigers come to town. Alabama looks to continue to keep pace in the SEC as they are tied for the top spot in the conference.

MBB vs Auburn

Gallery Credit: SEC Media Portal

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