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Auburn is the No. 1 seed and Winthrop is the No. 16 seed in the South Region.

1999 Men's NCAA Tournament Section

College Basketball Section

  Top-Seeded Auburn Demolishes Winthrop, 80-41

Bryant Smith
Auburn's Bryant Smith, right, tries to steal the ball from Wintrhop's Jacques Vandescure. (AP)
By Steve Herman
Associated Press
Thursday, March 11, 1999; 5:07 p.m. EST

INDIANAPOLIS – Scott Pohlman and Doc Robinson scored 14 points apiece Thursday as top-seeded Auburn raced to an 80-41 victory over 16th-seeded Winthrop, playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time.

The Tigers (28-3), whose last tourney appearance was in 1988, advanced to Saturday's second round of the South Regional against ninth-seeded Oklahoma State, which beat No. 8 Syracuse 69-61 in the first game at the RCA Dome.

Winthrop (21-8) stayed close early in the game, taking advantage of Auburn's shaky play, but once the Tigers settled down, it was no contest.

Chris Porter, Auburn's leading scorer and a second-team All-American, was held to nine points, just three in the first half, but his teammates produced repeated big runs to put the Tigers safely in control. Auburn built the lead to 10 points with under seven minutes left in the first half, stretched it to 19 at halftime and blew the Eagles out in the first eight minutes of the second period.

Two fast-break slam dunks by Porter, 3-pointers by Robinson and Jay Heard and a 3-point play by Bryant Smith helped Auburn to a 56-25 lead. The Tigers' press produced 16 steals, including one by Porter for another fast-break dunk during an 11-0 run that pushed the lead to 67-29 with five minutes to go.

The biggest lead was 40 points – twice in the final two minutes – and Winthrop came no closer than 37 points the rest of the way.

Jay Heard and Smith also had nine points each for Auburn. Winthrop, which shot 25.5 percent and committed 24 turnovers for the game, was led by Robbie Waldrop, Jacques Vandescure and Tyson Waterman with six points apiece.

Winthrop lost to Auburn by 25 points in their only other meeting two years ago. Last year, the Eagles were 7-20 but won the Big South Conference this season under new coach Gregg Marshall. A No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1 in the tournament, however, and Winthrop's chance lasted only for the first few minutes.

After three early ties, a 3-pointer by Waterman gave the Eagles a 12-9 lead, but that was their last basket for almost eight minutes. Daymeon Fishback and Robinson hit back-to-back 3-pointers for the Tigers, then two free throws apiece by Fishback and Mamadou N'diaye finished a 14-1 run that put Auburn ahead 23-13.

Winthrop, shooting 28 percent with 15 turnovers in the first half, never recovered.

After the first of two 3-pointers by Waldrop with 5:33 to go, the Eagles managed only one more basket before halftime. Auburn, meanwhile, continued to pull away despite its own poor shooting – 39 percent in the first half and 37.8 for the game.

Pohlman's third 3-pointer put the Tigers up 30-18 and started another 10-0 Auburn run to finish the half. Adrian Chilliest added a basket, Porter had a basket and free throw – his only points of the opening period – and Robinson scored again for the Tigers' 37-18 lead at the break.

Pohlman, fouled on a 3-point attempt, made two of three free throws to start Auburn's second-half blowout.

© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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