Recap: Auburn demolishes South Alabama 101-58; preps for WashingtonNovember 8, 2018
The Auburn Tigers started off the new basketball season like a well oiled machine, destroying a solid mid-major program South Alabama by 43 points, 101-58.
New USA head coach Richie Riley didn’t have much time to adjust to the games’s fast pace as Bruce Pearl’s squad connected on 8 of their first 10 three-pointers. USA’s Rodrick Sikes led all scorers with 25, as both Chuma Okeke and Jared Harper had 20 points each.
Overall, Auburn went 18-38 from 3, just 3 short of the school record of 21. The Tigers shot 47% from three on the night as well as 51% from the floor.
Malik Dunbar provided a spark off the bench, scoring 16 points and collecting 5 rebounds. Anfernee McLemore showed flashes that he is back and is good as ever, as he scored 11 points while grabbing 8 boards.
As mentioned earlier, Harper finished with 20 points, but also racked up 11 assists for his first career double-double.
In the postgame press conference with the SEC Network, Pearl said Auburn “could’ve beaten a lot of teams” with their performance, citing their effort and outside shooting.
Now that this one is over, Auburn now turns their attention to preseason top 25 Washington Huskies.
The Huskies, currently ranked #25 in the AP Poll, are very talented and should be ready for the early season test.
Washington defeated Western Kentucky on opening night, 73-55, behind Noah Dickerson’s resilient play and the outstanding defensive effort by Matisse Thybulle, who finished with 6 (!) blocks. These two big men should provide an intriguing matchup for Anfernee McLemore, Horace Spencer, and Chuma Okeke inside the paint.
I spent some time watching their game against the Hilltoppers and noticed a couple of things. Washington doesn’t have a great offense, but they make up for it with intense defense.
Western Kentucky is going to get better this season, but without Auburn transfer Desean Murray due to suspension, they just didn’t have the firepower to hold the 9 point lead that they had in the first half.
Matchup to watch for
The most interesting matchup for this game will be Anfernee McLemore vs. Noah Dickerson. Dickerson finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks after only playing 6 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble.
Both of these players’ defensive skills will be put on full display in front of what should be a raucous crowd in Auburn Arena.
The game will be very intense and very close throughout, but Bryce Brown will come alive in the second half and seal the win for the home team.
Auburn 82 Washington 75