AUBURN, Alabama (Ticker) -- Auburn attempted to start a new winning streak at home against its intrastate rival, but Chuck Davis would not allow it.
Davis scored four of his 10 points in the final 1:38 and Earnest Shelton added 22 as No. 17 Alabama captured its second straight win at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum with a 60-55 victory over Southeastern Conference foe Auburn.
The Tigers (9-9, 0-5 SEC West) had won the previous seven games here before falling, 72-71, last season. In this one, the Crimson Tide (16-3, 5-1 West) led throughout, including a 15-point lead with 12:16 remaining, until the Tigers pulled within 53-52 with 3:20 left behind a 10-0 run that featured five different scorers.
"The home team is always going to have a run and make their own breaks," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "Auburn had its tonight, and they made some big breaks. They got us out of our system offensively, and they were able to cause some key turnovers to let them come back."
Davis, who scored eight points in the second half, gave Alabama some breathing room with two free throws with 98 seconds to play. After Auburn's Ian Young missed a 3-pointer, Davis made a layup with 78 seconds remaining.
"I looked up at the clock and it really didn't have much of an affect on me," Davis said. "It really shocked me to see Auburn that close. They fouled me a couple of times in a row and forced me to shoot free throws."
Kennedy Winston and Shelton combined to make 3-of-4 free throws in the final 25 seconds to seal the Tide's third straight win in this series. Alabama made 13-of-17 free throws in the second half to hold on.
Improving to 5-1 in the league, Alabama is off to its best start since 2001-2002 when it went 8-1 before capturing its last SEC title.
The reigning SEC Player of the Week, Winston entered the game averaging 21 points in his previous four games, but came out slow in the first half of this one, scoring five points on 2-of-4 shooting. He finished with 16, shooting 4-of-4 from the arc.
Shelton provided the early spark for the Tide, scoring 14 first-half points with three 3-pointers as Alabama took a 31-22 halftime lead. He finished 6-of-11 from the field with five from the arc.
Meanwhile, the Tide had a strong defensive effort against the Tigers' guard-oriented offense, holding SEC leading-scorer Toney Douglas 10 points below his average. The freshman guard finished 4-of-13 with nine points. As a team, Auburn shot just 23 percent (4-of-17) from 3-point range.
"They knew coming in that they needed to stop our 3-point shooting," said Young about the Tide's defensive focus. "They did a good job of pressuring the ball and making us put it on the floor. I think we did a good job of hitting our shots, but they were able to do a better job."
Jermareo Davidson scored six points and pulled down 14 rebounds for Alabama, which shot 39 percent (18-of-46) from the game, but 50 percent (11-of-22) from the arc.
Nathan Watson scored 13 points and Young added 11 and six assists for Auburn, which absorbed its fifth straight defeat.
"We played a top 25 team and just did not have enough at the end to finish it off," Tigers coach Jeff Lebo said. "We just could not pull it out in the end."