The first half played out similar to last week's Georgia Southern game. The Tigers played loose and sloppy with the ball, resulting in 14 turnovers in the first half alone. As a result, the Demons were close enough to feel in the game by the end of the half. They even held a lead for a little bit of the game.
In the second half, Auburn came out on fast. Three pointers were dropping like sweet summer rain. Fast-breaks were resulting in roof-raising dunks. Everyone got in on the act as the Tigers had six players in double-digits scoring. At the end of the second half, Auburn had scored 72 points. It played out similar to the 2013 game against the Demons, only in reverse.
Auburn had two players with a double-double. Kareem Canty was 4 rebounds from a triple-double. It's not outside the realm of possibility that he could have converted the triple-double if he hadn't been pulled with a fair bit of time left on the clock. Cinmeon Bowers had another good night with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The second half was about as fun as Auburn basketball can get with the way the three point shots were dropping. Auburn was 17-32 from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, the night wasn't without some negatives. Tahj Shamsid-Deen had to leave the game with a shoulder injury. That's been a sad and familiar story over the last two seasons. Hopefully this injury isn't too series, and Tahj is able to bounce back from it. Auburn is a different defensive team when he's in the game.
Things We Learned/Confirmed:
Most of these are repeats from previous games, so I can't really say we learned anything new. We just confirmed some previous thoughts.
1) Auburn can score points. I've mentioned this before, but it's nice to see it confirmed in multiple games. I knew Auburn recruited some points-scorers, but until they get on the court, you just never really know. With the two main scorers from last season gone, there was the question of who would replace them. Tonight, six Tigers scored double-digits. New Williams didn't even play much after his knee issue, either, so that's another player who will add scoring threats to the Tiger attack. There may be some defensive issues on this team, but we definitely know they can score points. Auburn shot almost 70% from the floor in the second half. When they're hot, they're something to behold.
2) TJ Dunans is so much fun to watch. He can do anything on the court. There's not a statistical category that he didn't have a state recorded in. He was 4-6 from beyond the arc. He had a block, a steal, some assists. He does it all.
3) There are still defensive issues. The team is so much more effective defensively when Tahj is on the court. Northwestern State scored 81 points, which is enough to win a good many college basketball games. Better teams then they will likely put up some big numbers on the Tigers if they don't figure out how to play better on the defensive end of the court.
4) College Basketball referees suck the joy from life. I know the new rules were necessary, but there are still so many fouls called. Those aren't the worst ones, though. The worst ones were the two technical fouls called on Kareem Canty and Horace Spencer for "pulling up on the rim" on their dunks. Canty's was borderline. Spencer's was one of the cheapest fouls I've seen called. It was so pathetic that the ref called that one.
The Tigers go on a short road trip now, after playing their first four games at home. They'll be in Conway, S.C. to face former coach Cliff Ellis' Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Tuesday night at 6pm CST. Then they have nearly two weeks off before facing Middle Tennessee State on a Saturday afternoon in Murfreesboro. The next home game (and the last one before conference play begins in January, if you can believe it), will be December 15th against Mercer.