The Auburn men's basketball team lost to Northern Iowa 67-61 in the final round of the Chicago Invitational Saturday at the Sears Centre as DeWayne Reed once again led the Tigers with a game-high 21 points.
Auburn (3-3) had an 18-6 run to turn an 11-7 deficit into a 25-17 lead with 4:27 left in the first half as a pair of Tay Waller 3-pointers contributed to it. The Tigers held a 28-20 lead with 3:18 remaining in the half on a Brendon Knox jumper, but Northern Iowa (4-2) scored the final eight points of the half to tie the score at 28-28.
"Jordan Eglseder is gigantic," Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo said. "He is gigantic. He is 7-foot-1, 290 and we didn't do a good job on him. They shot the ball well from three, and when we helped off inside, they made shots. Our problem is offensively. We can't manufacture any points."
With the score tied at 34, the Panthers scored 10 straight points to take their largest lead of the game at 44-34 just over six minutes into the second half. Eight points by Reed helped bring the Tigers to within 46-44 with 10:55 left.
Northern Iowa pushed the margin back up to nine at 58-49 with 2:27 remaining, but the Tigers still had life left as a Reed layup closed it to within 64-58 with 35 seconds left. Rasheem Barrett then stole the ball and missed a 3-pointer from the right baseline that would have cut the lead in half with 28 seconds on the clock.
Northern Iowa outshot Auburn 53.7 percent to 40.0 percent from the field and 47.1 percent (8-of-17) to 29.6 percent (8-of-27) from 3-point range. Northern Iowa, which shot 60 percent from the field and 44 percent (4-of-9) from 3-point range in the first half, made 4-of-8 three-pointers in the second half. The Tigers outrebounded the Panthers, 31-30 and committed only 11 turnovers to forcing 16.
The Panthers shot 68.2 percent (15-of-22) from the foul line while the Tigers were only 55.6 percent (5-of-9). Korvotney Barber recorded his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds while Waller added 10 points. Eglseder had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Northern Iowa, Ali Farokhmanesh scored a team-high 14 points and Johnny Moran added 13 points.
Auburn returns to action Wednesday at Xavier at 7 pm Central and the game will be televised by CBS College Sports.