Canty scores 21 and Auburn holds off Mercer late, 78-71

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Kareem Canty scored 21 points and Auburn fended off a late rally to beat Mercer Tuesday night, 78-71.

Tyler Harris had 20 points and 11 rebounds, T.J. Dunans had 14, and Cinmeon Bowers added 13.

The Tigers shot 36.2 percent in the first half, and were down by as much as six in the first half before taking the lead just before halftime on an alley-oop from Canty to Dunans.

Auburn (5-2) opened the second half on a 15-5 run and stretched its lead to as much as 10 before the Bears battled back and cut it to five.

Mercer (8-2) whittled Auburn's 10-point lead down to four in the second half, but the Tigers weathered the storm.

Canty went down with an ankle injury early in the second half, but returned shortly and propelled Auburn to a 7-1 run.

Lewis' 3-pointer with just under two minutes to go capped a 15-8 run for the Bears, but the Tigers responded with a flurry of 3-pointers and free throws from Canty, and a pair of Bowers dunks to clinch Auburn's fifth win of the season.

TIP-INS

AUBURN: Canty came into the game averaging 19 points per game, good for fourth in the SEC … The win evens the four-game series between the schools at two wins apiece.

MERCER: The game at Auburn is the first of three straight road challenges, including games at Arkansas and Ohio State … The loss snapped a five-game Mercer win streak … The Bears' 8-1 start is the best in program history since joining Division I in 1973.

NEXT UP:

AUBURN: at Xavier Saturday.

MERCER: at Arkansas Saturday.