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Tyrece Radford, Texas A&M too strong for #4 Auburn

Tyrece Radford made a career-high five 3-pointers while recording 19 points and eight rebounds to help notch a 67-62 upset of #4 in the Southeastern Conference quarterfinals on Friday afternoon in Tampa.

Quenton Jackson added 17 points as the eighth-seeded Aggies (22-11) kept their NCAA Tournament hopes alive with the upset of top-seeded Auburn (27-5). Texas A&M will face fourth-seeded Arkansas in Saturday’s semifinals.

Henry Coleman III added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Aggies, who have won six straight games and seven of their past eight. Texas A&M also defeated a top-five team for the first time since a 71-69 win over fifth-ranked Texas on Jan. 30, 1982.

Jabari Smith registered 17 points and nine rebounds for Auburn, which is just 5-4 following a 22-1 start. Walker Kessler contributed 16 points, nine rebounds, four blocked shots and three steals and Wendell Green Jr. had 15 points on five 3-pointers for the Tigers.

Auburn’s K.D. Johnson missed all 14 of his field-goal attempts while going scoreless. The Tigers made just 30.4 percent of their shots and were 9 of 36 from 3-point range.

Texas A&M connected on 43.9 percent of its shots, including 8 of 16 from 3-point range, while leading for nearly 39 minutes.

The Aggies lost 75-58 to Auburn on Feb. 12 for their eighth straight setback. Their hot stretch began after that game.

Auburn made a frantic dash from a 20-point deficit and Smith drained a 3-pointer to pull the Tigers within 62-58 with 36.9 seconds left. Jackson made four straight free throws over the next 4.9 seconds as A&M held on.

Texas A&M led 37-21 at halftime and continued to outplay Auburn over the first 10-plus minutes of the second half.

Radford buried a 3-pointer and added a jumper to boost the Aggies’ lead to 53-33 with 11:14 remaining.

But Auburn suddenly awoke and went on a 13-3 burst to cut its deficit in half, with Zep Jasper’s putback pulling the Tigers within 56-46 with 6:10 left.

Green suddenly got hot and drilled three 3-pointers in 2 1/2 minutes to bring Auburn within 60-55 with 2:14 remaining.

Auburn shot a miserable 6 of 37 (16.2 percent) from the field in the first half to trail by 16. The Tigers were 3 of 20 from behind the arc.

Texas A&M made 5 of 9 from 3-point range, including two straight from Radford to cap a 15-3 burst and open up a 28-15 advantage with 4:10 left in the half.

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