Alabama broke a five-game losing streak that had left the Crimson Tide without a win since February 13, when their NCAA hopes were strong.
With the game on the line, Sexton put the Tide up by two after a jumper with 17 seconds left, but Starks fired back with a clutch three-pointer to give the Aggies the one-point edge with four seconds left on the clock, setting up Sexton's heroics.
Not having Starks was costly for the Aggies, who have very thin point guard depth after losing Duane Wilson to injury and J.J. Caldwell to dismissal earlier in the season. "He knew how fast I could get there, so he said just get to the basket and get a layup for us".
During their last five games, the Aggies have scored an average of 74.8 points per game (0.4 below their season average) and allowed an average of 78.8 points per game (9.0 above their season average). Petty scored 27 points, including eight 3-pointers, in Alabama's 76-71 win against Auburn in January. The 19,260-seat arena isn't likely to be filled to the brim with fans from either side, and Alabama's second-round win against Texas A&M was played in front of a rather scant crowd, even for a noon start.
Sophomore forward Robert Williams was a virtual non-factor on the offensive end in the first half, making zero of his two shots.
If Auburn can come up with a similar result Friday at the Scottrade Center - it opened as a six-point favorite, per VegasInsider.com - it will advance to the SEC Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2015, where it will face either Kentucky or Georgia.
Auburn and Alabama haven't faced each other in postseason play since the 1999 season, when the Tigers won 93-61.
Tomorrow's Alabama-Auburn game will be televised at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN. "They showed some maturity".
Here's a look at the stunning shot that helped the Crimson Tide claim a 71-70 win over the Aggies in the SEC Tournament.
To say that Johnson was pleased with that response would be an understatement. "Let's see what happens (Friday)".