SAN DIEGO (AP) – Gabe DeVoe scored 22 points and Elijah Thomas had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Clemson, which closed the first half with a 25-4 run that helped it beat cold-shooting Auburn 84-53 on Sunday and advance to the Midwest Region semifinal.
In a matchup between Southern schools better known for football, the No. 5 seed Clemson Tigers proved far more adept on the hardwood than the No. 4 seed Auburn Tigers.
The blowout win put Clemson (25-9) into the Sweet 16 for the fourth time overall and the first since 1997, earning it a spot against Kansas in the regional semifinal.
Auburn, which played this season under the cloud of a federal investigation into corruption in college basketball, finished 26-8.
The final 10½ minutes of the first half were a nightmare for Auburn, which made only 6 of 33 shots (18.2 percent) in the first half and 17 of 66 overall (25.8 percent).
Jared Harper made a jumper with 10:33 before halftime to pull Auburn to 18-15. The Tigers then missed their next 18 field goals as Clemson raced to a 43-19 halftime lead.
Clemson scored 17 straight points, highlighted by 3-pointers by Anthony Oliver II and DeVoe, to make it 35-15.
Chuma Okeke made two free throws for Auburn, but the Tigers still couldn’t hit a field goal. They got two more free throws by Mustapha Heron with 1:20 to go.
Auburn finally snapped the drought from the field when Bryce Brown hit a 3-pointer 44 seconds into the second half. All that did was pull the Tigers within 21 points.
Heron and Bryce Brown scored 12 points apiece for Auburn and Horace Spencer had 10.
Marcquise Reed added 16 for Clemson and Shelton Mitchell had 10.
Clemson made 10 of 26 3-pointers. DeVoe made 6 of 9.
Auburn heads into an uncertain offseason. Assistant coach Chuck Person was indicted as part of a federal investigation that cost two of Auburn’s best players their eligibility. Person allegedly accepted bribes to steer players to a financial adviser once they turned pro and allegedly funneled money to the families of Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy. Neither played this season.
Clemson plays top-seeded Kansas on Friday in Omaha.
No. 5 Clemson defeats No. 4 Auburn by 31, the 3rd-largest win by a lower seed since seeding began in 1979. The Tigers’ loss matches the largest margin of defeat in an NCAA Tournament game by an SEC team. pic.twitter.com/CImdPwjWUK— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 19, 2018