Auburn guard K.C. Ross-Miller (12) gets tangled up with Texas A&M guard Alex Caruso (21) and Texas A&M forward Kourtney Roberson (14) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament,
Mark Humphrey
March 12, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Maybe coach Bruce Pearl should have yelled like this at his Auburn Tigers sooner.

He jumped all over the Tigers at halftime, and Auburn rallied from 10 points down at the break to upset fifth-seeded Texas A&M 66-59 Thursday in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

The Tigers (14-19) now have won twice in as many days after winning only four SEC games all season. Auburn also won consecutive tournament games for the first time since 2000, and they will play fourth-seeded LSU on Friday.

''This becomes the third team in 30 years of Auburn basketball history to win a couple games and advance in the tournament,'' Pearl said. ''Maybe that's not something you want to brag about. But those are the facts, and those facts matter to these guys right here.''

KT Harrell scored 25 points, and Cinmeon Bowers added 10 points for Auburn.

''BP just came in the locker room mad, so when he gets mad, it's time to go,'' Bowers said. ''We can't back off. We got a steal, and it got us going.''

With nothing but the offseason ahead, the Tigers opened the second half with a 16-1 run hitting their first four 3-pointers. The Aggies didn't hit their first bucket of the half until Alex Robinson scored on a layup with 14:31 left.

Fifth-seeded Texas A&M (20-11) lost its third straight and four of the last five, likely dooming the Aggies' NCAA Tournament hopes.

''They have got to step up and accept the pressure and be able to play in a pressure moment,'' Aggies coach Billy Kennedy said. ''We have got to get back to figuring out what's best offensively at times to get us in offense.''

Alex Caruso and Robinson had 11 points apiece for Texas A&M, which now has to wait for a likely berth in the National Invitation Tournament.

''They kept attacking us,'' Aggies forward Kourtney Robinson said. ''And they kept making us turn the ball over.''

Auburn slumped into this tournament having lost six straight. But Pearl has preached this tournament gives the Tigers a chance to thank their fans and show some signs of progress. For this game, the coach told them to win for themselves, and they picked up where they left off Wednesday night beating Mississippi State - their first win since Valentine's Day.

It looked grim at halftime with the Aggies up 33-23. But Texas A&M blew a 14-point halftime lead in losing the regular season finale to Alabama, and the Aggies blew their second straight double-digit lead at halftime.

The Tigers took control with their strong start to the second half, and Auburn pushed the lead to double digits when Harrell hit three free throws with 8:13 left.

The Aggies couldn't score as they hit only two shots through the first 18 minutes of the second half. They trimmed the final margin with a couple of layups in the final two minutes.

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TIP-INS

Auburn: The Tigers had a 20-5 scoring edge off the Aggies' 19 turnovers. ... Their margin could have been bigger if they had been better at the free throw line, where they went 24 of 38.

Texas A&M: The Aggies ranked third in the SEC shooting 35 percent beyond the arc. They finished 5 of 19, missing all 10 attempts in the second half. ... They outrebounded Auburn 38-35 but got only five offensive boards. Robinson finished with 12 rebounds.

SEC HISTORY: Auburn won the tournament title in 1985 with four wins in as many days with Chuck Person on the team. Pearl said he didn't pack five suits, but has five shirts and ties if needed.

HOUSE ON BENCH: The Aggies played without Danuel House, the SEC's fourth-leading scorer averaging 16.2 points per game, because of a sprained foot he sprained last week in a loss at Florida. That forced Caruso into handling the ball more, and he had 10 of the Aggies' 19 turnovers.

UP NEXT:

Auburn: LSU on Friday.

Texas A&M: Waiting for an NIT tournament berth.

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