Intensity. Ferocity. Killer instinct.
Some have questioned these characteristics during games against lesser opposition, but even the most pessimistic and pot-banging among them have to be impressed by tonight's effort.
After an early 16-12 Texas A&M advantage, Auburn responded with an 18-3 run to open up an eleven point lead. The crowd was into it, the wheels were falling off, and our first conference title since 1986 was slipping away.
Our response? 25 minutes of brutally efficient basketball that took the form of an extended 56-23 run. Disaster was staring us in the face, and we buried disaster under an avalanche of dunks, threes, and malfunctioning tornado sirens.
I mean... what else can you call it? It was a champion's response.
Let's break it down.
Jones, House, and Davis
These guys were immense early. As we mentioned at the top, the team just didn't have it for large stretches of the first half... and these three kept it together. They combined for 49 points and 22 rebounds.
Again, we are very difficult to deal with when Jones and House are hitting on the same day.
Domination on the glass
This was one of the more lopsided rebounding advantages I've ever seen in a major conference game. We piled on 20 offensive rebounds and 51 in total (to only 27 for Auburn), many of which were used to keep us afloat early.
It was nice to see us impose our will on a lesser opponent for the second game running.
One game away
Kentucky took care of business tonight, so we have to keep the champagne on ice for another four days. But this Saturday's scenario could not be more simple:
Win, and we have our first conference title in 30 years.
Get to Reed this Saturday for an early tip (11am) to honor the outgoing crop of Seniors. And who knows... you might just get to attend a party 30 years in the making.