AU continues to handle business on the hardwoodNovember 30, 2018
I thought the phrase ‘handles business’ was very appropriate for what Auburn did against Saint Peter’s out of Jersey City, New Jersey on Wednesday night. The No. 8 Tigers cruised to a 50 point win, crushing the Peacocks, 99-49.
Although there isn’t a whole lot to say about this game, being a very basic and mundane win over a bad team, there were a few noteworthy things that happened.
Anfernee McLemore tied his career-high with 19 points, while sharp-shooter Bryce Brown added 19 of his own. The two combined to go 6 of 11 from behind the arc as the team shot 48% both from the field and three-point land.
It was especially nice to see McLemore regain his stroke from deep after struggling with his three-point shot to begin the season, but that certainly changed against St. Peter’s as the Auburn power forward nailed 3 of 5 shots from long range. Not to mention, the junior registered a couple blocked shots, three steals and five rebounds for a very, very solid night for the Auburn fan favorite, who seems to have recovered beautifully from his gruesome injury at the end of last season.
(6-1) Auburn was 15-31 from 3-point range, and Malik Dunbar was a big part of that. The senior was 4 of 6 from long range and finished the night with 14 points, but more importantly, this season has provided evidence that Dunbar’s game has evolved and matured to become one of Auburn’s most exciting players running the floor.
Auburn big man Austin Wiley continued his return to the hardwood after a year long absence and like Dunbar, Wiley’s ascension has been evident. The junior filled up the stat sheet, scoring 16 points, collecting 9 rebounds and blocking 3 shots. Wiley is literally getting better and better with each and every game as his body gets in prime basketball shape.
Auburn super sophomore Chuma Okeke was a perfect 5-5 on the night as he scored 12 points with 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Jared Harper continued to show why he’s one of the country’s best point guards as he dished out 8 dimes.
After a 50-point win where Auburn easily dominated its opponent, it’s hard to have anything negative to say about the Tigers as Bruce Pearl should get a lot of credit for the type of energy that his team plays with, whether matched up with the best of the best (Duke) or a team that many people had never heard of (St. Peter’s).
However, Pearl did point to poor free-throw shooting (12-20) against the Peacocks as something to be leery of in the future as the Auburn head coach predicted that it could cost the Tigers some close games against tougher competition if his Tigers don’t improve from the charity stripe. Auburn ranks 259th nationally in free-throw percentage (65.7%), whereas last year’s team that won a share of the regular season SEC Championship ranked 16th in the country in free-throw percentage, shooting 77.4%.
Auburn returns to action next Tuesday night, December 4th in Auburn Arena as the Tigers take on UNC-Asheville. Tip-off is a 7:00 p.m. cst and will be televised by the SEC Network. Also, it’s worth mentioning that former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant is set to publicly make his decision on this day as to what school he is transferring to, so Tiger fans in Auburn Arena may have something a little extra to cheer about come Tuesday evening.