I'd like to give this team a big round of applause - nay, a standing ovation. What a performance, tonight. A road game, with this depleted squad, and the Tigers came to play. They came to win. And they did.
Bryce Brown knocked down six three point shots in the first half and he was joined by his teammates in draining a few more. Auburn shot 60% from the field in the first half and went into the break tied at 46. This is a team that had not scored 30 in the first half since the LSU game. Shots were dropping and the Tigers were playing with a lot of intensity.
The second half started well, but Arkansas was able to get out to a 9 point lead a bit into the half. Auburn fought back and kept it close thanks to the Tigers regaining their intensity after the lull that let Arkansas get the lead. The ridiculously hot shooting of Brown, the blocks from Spencer, and Cinmeon Bowers playing out of his mind helped the Tigers stay in this one all the way to the end and have the chance they needed.
The last 5 minutes of this one were a lot of fun. Cinmeon did a great job running point and TJ Lang nailed back-to-back threes to give Auburn a lead with around 1:30 to play. Then after Arkansas free throws, Bryce Brown drained his ninth (NINTH) three point shot of the night. Arkansas went 1-2 on their next free throws, and Auburn was able to get the ball and drain some clock before Tyler Harris went to the line.
Unfortunately, he missed his free throw and TJ Lang fouled out. So nursing a two point lead, Cinmeon Bowers was fouled. Bowers hit 1 to at least give Auburn a three point lead. He went back to the line and went 2-2 to give the Tigers a 5 point lead and seal the game.
1) Bryce Brown can be everything Kareem Canty was and more. He strokes that ball into the basket so well. This is a true freshman who had no other SEC offers, and I imagine there's a lot of SEC coaches wondering how they missed on him. He hit nine three point shots. He's going to be deadly as he gets more experience.
2) Oh Cinmeon, what could have been? There were the usual head scratching plays, but wow did Bowers have some beautiful plays tonight, too. He was driving the basket, he made some key layups, he was hitting his free throws, and oh he did this:
This was beautiful. https://t.co/Ge3N2Vmfhh— Walt (@AUTigerGSUEagle) February 18, 2016
Where has that been his whole career? That's the type of thing we've been wanting to see for a man his size.
3) What a team effort. Auburn, down half a team (literally), scored 90 points on the road. That's unreal. Fifteen three point shots fell for Auburn. It wasn't a perfect game by any stretch, but wow was it nice. There's so much hope for what Bruce Pearl is going to be able to do with this team in the future.