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Updated: Saturday, January 18, 2003 7:32 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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Auburn 77, (10) Alabama 68
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Alabama Crimson Tide
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AUBURN TIGERS
Auburn Tigers
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AUBURN, Alabama (Ticker) -- Auburn made its claim to a spot in the national rankings.

Marquis Daniel was one of four Auburn players to score 13 points as the surprising Tigers extended their winning streak to nine games with a convincing 77-68 victory over No. 10 Alabama in the Southeastern Conference.

Auburn (15-2, 4-0 SEC West) is in first place in the West Division, a big surprise for a team not considered to be a contender. The Tigers have not lost since a 72-54 defeat to Western Michigan on December 17.

Most of the wins have come against inferior opponents, but the Tigers turned some heads Saturday with their first victory over a top-10 team since they defeated Arkansas in 1994-95.

Marco Killingsworth, Derrick Bird and Brandon Robinson also had 13 points apiece for the Tigers, who scored the first eight points and led by double digits for most of the second half.

Emmett Thomas scored 20 points and Erwin Dudley added 17 for Alabama (12-3, 2-2), which lost at Auburn for the seventh straight time. The Crimson Tide have managed just a split in their last six games.

Mo Williams added 16 points and Kennedy Winston 12 for Alabama.

Alabama battled back to take an 18-15 advantage, but the Tigers took the lead for good at 20-18 on a 3-pointer by Nathan Watson with 8:26 left in the first half.

Auburn built its halftime lead to 37-29 with the help of a three-point play by Robinson with 1:24 remaining.

Alabama cut the lead to 42-37 on a a pair of free throws by Winston with 15:57 left, but the Crimson Tide got no closer.

The Tigers built their lead to as high as 14 points, taking a 62-48 advantage on a pair of free throws by Daniels with 6:16 left.

Auburn improved to 10-1 at home this season.

Official Mike Wood was forced to leave with a leg injury early in the second half. The game finished with just two officials.


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