Last week was tough for Auburn basketball. Auburn suffered its worst loss of the season against Boston College. Two starters, Bryce Brown and Horace Spencer were suspended. Auburn put it all behind them Thursday night, running Coastal Carolina off the court.
Auburn opened out to a ten point lead early. The Chants fought back to within three with seven to play in the first half. Then, Auburn went off.
Auburn scored 23 straight and closed out the half on a 31-5 run. It was never close again. Auburn scored 56 in the first half and followed it up with 61 in the second.
Auburn couldn't miss from three tonight. Auburn hit twenty-one threes, tying a SEC record. Auburn hit 21 of 42 from behind the arc.
Danjel Purifoy was incredible, scoring 27 points for the second straight game. He added seven boards and three steals. He was 5-10 from deep. He also handles the ball well for a guy his size.
Daniel Purifoy is nasty. https://t.co/vxljfVwn8B— Zac Blackerby (@Zblackerby) December 16, 2016
Anfernee McLemore made the most with his extra playing time tonight, adding in 9 points and 8 boards, including a great dunk right before the half.
TJ Dunans was back from his illness and stole the show at times. He had five amazing assists and ten points. Ronnie Johnson, Mustapha Heron, and Jared Harper were also in double-digits.
Also, HOW ABOUT WILL MACOY? Macoy had 8 off the bench in the last five minutes including a nasty dunk on a breakaway. HELLO! VESTAVIA HILLS!
So what did we learn?
1. When Auburn Is Hot from Behind the Arc, They're Really Good
Auburn may live by the three and die by the three this year. Auburn seemed hesitant to work the ball inside. We won't be able to count on hitting 21 three-pointers every night out. If you shoot 42 threes, a more likely outcome is hitting about 14. Tonight, we were getting really good looks outside, but Auburn is going to have to find more points in the paint going forward.
2. Auburn Has a Defense We Can Ride a Long Way When the Shots Don't Fall
Auburn's defensive intensity turned the game around tonight. Auburn forced 16 turnovers and had 8 blocks tonight. Most of Coastal Carolina's shots were contested. They went cold, but we had something to do with that.
3. Danjel Purifoy Is a Star
Danjel Purifoy may be the SEC Freshman of the Year at the end of the season. Tonight was the third time he's topped 20 points. He's one of our best rebounders. He's one of the team's leaders in assists. Tonight, he showed something different. He wanted to take over the game. He wanted to drive aggressively to the hole. He wants to be the star. As he develops, it will help the Auburn offense find its identity.
Auburn won't have long to bask in the glow of this win. In the post game, Bruce said that he's going to push Auburn hard in practice this week. Auburn hosts the Mercer Bears Sunday at noon before traveling next week to play Oklahoma and Connecticut.