November 22, 2016 – Cancun, Mexico
When I think about this game, it’s wild to me that both of these schools would make it to the Final Four less than 3 years after this game was played. At the time, the Red Raiders were led by 1st year Head Coach Chris Beard and needless to say, Beard has done quite well so far in Lubbock.
Auburn and Texas Tech faced off in the semifinals of the Cancun Challenge. This game also provides us the signature moment of LaRon Smith’s year on the Plains. With the Tigers up 2 in the closing seconds, Smith blocked a potential game-tying shot by Texas Tech and the ensuing desperation heave was off target as Auburn earned their best win of the early season in the first game of the Cancun Challenge in Mexico.
The Tigers got off to a great start in this one grabbing the early and then going on an 11-0 run during the midway portion of the first half to build a 34-19 lead. Auburn would lead 38-23 at half with Mustapha Heron leading the way with 10 first half points and Horace Spencer adding 9.
Auburn would build a 19 point lead early in the 2nd half but the Red Raiders slowly began chipping away getting it down to 8 with 8 minutes to go before Ronnie Johnson hit a huge 3 to slow the momentum.
Auburn led 62-51 with 5 minutes left before Texas Tech would go on a 12-3 run to get with 2 with 32 seconds left. Jared Harper would split 4 free throws in the final 30 seconds and the Red Raiders would score as well to give Tech the ball back with a chance to tie or win the game. This would setup LaRon Smith’s huge moment. The Red Raiders would go for the tying layup but Smith sent the ball almost back to half court with 4 seconds left and the desperation heave was off from there.
After a 4-0 start to the season, Auburn would lose their first game of 2016-2017 the following night to Purdue, a top 15 team and eventual Sweet 16 participant, in the Cancun Challenge Championship game.
Here are the game highlights!
Tomorrow, at #95, we’ll return to the Plains for a matchup against South Carolina Upstate.