Auburn guard Frankie Sullivan scored 26 points to lead the Tigers to a 61-50 win against IPFW on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
Tigers center Robb Chubb added 10 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Forward Allen Payne finished with 12 points for Auburn.
IPFW senior guard Frank Gaines picked up where he left off last year, scoring 32 points to lead the Mastadons. He averaged 21.2 points per game last season, ninth in the country.
Auburn used an 18-4 run late in the second half to turn a five-point deficit into a 55-46 lead with less than two minutes left. Sullivan put an exclamation point on the rally, dunking an offensive rebound — much to the delight of the packed student section.
IPFW led throughout the first half, its largest lead 24-15. Auburn closed the half on an 8-3 spurt and trailed 27-23 at halftime.
In the early going, Auburn couldn't get anything going.
The Tigers had nine turnovers and 10 points in the first 10 minutes. IPFW shut off passing lanes to the post and used its speed to get out on the fast break.
Auburn also wasn't able to take advantage of its size advantage over IPFW. The Tigers only held a 22-19 edge on the boards in the first half.
In the second half, the Tigers turned to Sullivan.
Auburn kept going to its guard throughout the second half, and the senior answered most of the time. Sullivan had 16 of his points in the second. He shot 11 of 20 from the field.