Auburn went to 2-0 in SEC play for the first time in 10 years behind Frankie Sullivan's 17 points and five assists, Rob Chubb's 16 points and 10 rebounds and Brian Greene Jr.'s career-high 14 points to win at South Carolina 74-71 in Colonial Life Arena on Saturday.
Greene Jr. made all six of his field goal attempts, including two 3-pointers.
Trailing 39-38 at the half, Sullivan drained back-to-back 3-pointers to give Auburn a 46-42 lead and then made two foul shots after a South Carolina turnover for an 8-0 run by himself. The Tigers won for the third consecutive time after trailing at halftime by one point each in wins over Florida State and LSU.
The Gamecocks answered with a 7-2 run to regain the lead at 49-48 with 12:47, and then a conventional 3-point play by Rob Chubb gave the Tigers a 55-52 lead with 10:52 left.
Brian Greene Jr.'s 3-pointer pulled Auburn ahead again 62-61 with 6:44 to go, and his 3-pointer from 26 feet gave the Tigers a 67-65 lead with five minutes remaining. Two Sullivan free throws put the Tigers ahead to stay at 73-71 with 2:41 to go. Chubb grabbed a huge offensive rebound and split foul shots for a 74-71 lead with 35 seconds.
The Tigers defense held strong and forced the Gamecocks to come up empty on their final possession, even after South Carolina had another opportunity after a missed shot that went out of bounds under the Carolina goal with 9.4 seconds left.
"I'm so proud of our guys," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "We are still getting closer. We are still not a finished product, but we are getting closer into what is important and what is our identity. That is our grittiness and our toughness, and that shows up when adversity hits. We weren't so tough early in the season, and we haven't over this little run.
"It was a physical game, and you know that when you play against a Frank Martin-coached team. We got into some foul trouble adversity right there, and we had some guys step up. I told you after the last LSU game that Jordon Granger was going to help us win the game, and he came in and did that."
Auburn won its third straight game and the sixth in its last eight to improve to 8-7 overall, 2-0 in the SEC. South Carolina fell to 10-5, 0-2.
"It feels great to get an away win and steal one on the road," said Greene Jr. "I played big on the road and had the opportunity that Coach Barbee gave to me and to produce from it. It is a great team win. We are starting to bond and starting to become a really good team. Everybody is stepping up and everybody is playing hard and tough.
"I was in rhythm, and I felt good. I have been in the gym working out and working with the coaches on my jump shot. I had the opportunity due to everybody going down with Jordan Price and Chris Denson. It was an opportunity, and I am happy that I was able to step up."
After South Carolina took the largest lead by either team at 20-14 lead, Auburn scored seven straight points to take a 21-20 lead on Noel Johnson's second 3-pointer of the game with 9:42 left in the first. Johnson followed with another trey for a 24-23 Auburn lead.
The game continued to go back and forth as there were 12 lead changes and seven ties in the first half alone as South Carolina had a 39-38 halftime lead. The Tigers shot 60 percent from the floor but had 13 turnovers as the Gamecocks had a 16-7 edge in points off turnovers. Bruce Ellington scored a game-high 18 points, including 12 in the first half for South Carolina. Damien Leonard scored a career-high 17 points and nine rebounds on 5-of-8 three-point shooting.
Auburn shot a season-high 58.5 percent from the floor and made 8-of-18 (.444) 3-pointers and 18-of-28 from the foul line. South Carolina shot 45.6 percent from the field and 8-of-20 from behind the arc and 11-of-16 from the line. Auburn had only four second half turnovers after having 13 in the opening half. Bruc
Auburn continues its two-game road swing at Arkansas on Wednesday at 7 pm Central in Bud Walton Arena on the SEC Network.