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Johnson scores 15, Auburn rallies to beat USF
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Johnson scores 15, Auburn rallies to beat USF

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TAMPA, Fla. — K.D. Johnson scored 15 points, Zep Jasper added 13 and No. 21 Auburn rallied to beat South Florida 58-52 on Friday night.

Jabari Smith hit a 3-pointer 10 minutes into the second half during a 15-0 stretch that gave Auburn (3-0) its first lead at 42-40. It was the third made 3-pointer by Auburn in 21 tries to that point.

Jaylin Williams and Devan Cambridge had consecutive slams to start the run with USF leading 40-31. Johnson had two layups, including one after a nifty steal, that helped the Tigers go up 46-40.

Caleb Murphy scored 19 points and Javon Greene added 12 for South Florida (2-2), which was coming off a 56-54 comeback win over North Carolina A&T on Monday.

Smith, a standout freshman coming off his first career double-double in a win over Louisiana-Monroe on Nov. 12, had nine points.

Greene hit a 3 to pull USF within 55-52 with 2:30 remaining, but Sam Hines Jr. missed two free throws in the final minute.

Jasper made it 57-52 by making a pair of free throws with 32 seconds left.

Murphy had 11 points as USF took a 33-26 halftime lead.

The Bulls scored the first nine points and led 25-10 before Auburn put together a 10-0 run.

Auburn had five of its nine first-half turnovers in the opening five minutes and was scoreless until Johnson connected on a 3 with 14:43 left.

BIG PICTURE

Auburn: The Tigers trailed at halftime for a second straight game. Auburn trailed Louisiana-Monroe by two but ended up winning 93-65.

USF: The Bulls are building consistency with a roster that had lots of offseason turnover. USF added 10 new players, with eight transfers and two freshmen. The seven Division-I transfers and eight total transfers are tied for the most this season among D-I teams.

WE'LL BE BACK

The game was played off the USF campus in downtown Tampa at Amalie Arena. Auburn will return there in March for the Southeastern Conference tournament.

UP NEXT

Auburn: Opens play at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas Wednesday against No. 23 UConn.

USF: Hosts Hampton on Wednesday night.

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