Auburn played its final non-conference game of the season earlier this afternoon against the Cornell Big Red, and exploded in the second half on the way to a 21-point victory by the final of 98-77. With the win, the Tigers improve to 12-1 on the season, win their tenth straight game, and may find themselves ranked on Monday before heading into SEC play on Tuesday at Tennessee.
The first half saw the Tigers play with Cornell a bit sleepily, as the Big Red were able to force some turnovers, but they missed the transition chances and couldn’t capitalize, letting Auburn wake up and build a double-digit lead at the half. In the first twenty minutes, Anfernee McLemore recorded five blocks, and hassled Cornell at the rim time and again.
After halftime, things completely went Auburn’s way. Leading 47-35 at the break, the Tigers got two straight threes from Bryce Brown to build a 17-point lead, and the rout was on. From there, Auburn built a 29-point lead on Chuma Okeke’s layup with 12:43 to play, but two straight baskets by Horace Spencer late gave Auburn a 35-point lead for the biggest margin of the game. Bruce Pearl emptied the bench from there, and Cornell cut into the lead a bit, holding Auburn under 100 points on the night.
Bryce Brown led Auburn with 19 points, while Cornell’s Matt Morgan scored 25 to lead all scorers. Overall, Auburn shot 50% from the floor and got double-digit efforts from Brown, Mustapha Heron, Jared Harper, Horace Spencer, and Chuma Okeke.
The Tigers will play Tennessee in Knoxville on Tuesday, January 2nd in their SEC opener at 6 pm CST on ESPNU. Tennessee fell in overtime to Arkansas today in the conference opener for both of those teams.