After a loss in Colorado, Auburn returned home to Auburn Arena and earned a high-scoring 105-80 win over the Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette. This is now the Tigers’ third consecutive game against a team who made the NCAA Tournament a year ago, and they have managed to go 2-1. Antoine Mason missed another game with his ankle injury, but the Tigers found plenty of scoring and pulled away in the second half for a decisive victory. Cinmeon Bowers had his third consecutive double double.
Three things we learned tonight:
1. Other players are capable of carrying some of the scoring load. With Mason out, the Auburn offense was anemic in Boulder. Tonight, Malcolm Canada stepped up with 10 points and Jordon Granger scored 14. KT Harrell, Cinmeon Bowers, and Tahj Shamsid-Deen all were assertive and scored 20 points or more. But the Tigers need to develop some more weapons and tonight was a good start.
2. Auburn can in fact win the rebounding battle. Despite a small lineup and some talented front line players for the Ragin Cajuns, the Tigers secured 6 more rebounds. Honestly, the Tigers will usually be thrilled with breaking even this season on the glass, so tonight’s performance was welcome.
3. Bruce Pearl basketball is fun to watch. The Tigers scored 105 points without Antoine Mason. It was the first time since 2003 that Auburn scored over 100 points. The Tigers forced 20 turnovers and only committed 10. They played with tremendous effort and took the game over in the second half.
Auburn will travel next week to Las Vegas to play in the MGM Main Grand Event against Tulsa on Monday and either Oklahoma State or Oregon on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to seeing if the Tigers can improve away from Auburn Arena against more quality teams.
The other thing to keep in mind is that this year’s non-conference schedule is more daunting than in years past. I believe that will pay dividends later on in the season, if it leads to some early losses.
The future continues to look bright under Bruce.