The UAB student section sang a Christmas carol during the second half.
That’s before things got testy between the two coaches, and before things got intense between UAB and Auburn. Birmingham’s Legacy Arena was deafening after that. It was the sound of a great new tradition.
Mike Slive was looking down with pride.
Holy holidays, what a basketball game.
No.8 Auburn 75, UAB 71 in overtime. It doesn’t get much better than that for December basketball.
Can we do this again, please?
Slive, the former SEC commissioner and friend of UAB athletics passed away this year, and Saturday’s game between Auburn and UAB was the inaugural Mike Slive Invitational. What a wonderful tribute.
“It was a great environment,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “I want to thank both the Auburn and the UAB fan bases for making it a real special environment for these kids.”
And hopefully these two schools find a way to make it happen again and again this time of year. This first Mike Slive Invitational was also the final game of a four-game series between Auburn and UAB. Pearl pushed for that contract after he was named the coach at Auburn.
“That was always a big thought of mine trying to play up here, is to let them have this kind of environment in a neutral-site tournament [atmosphere],” Pearl said.