Auburn avoided the consistently slow first half that they’ve experienced, got a bevy of long threes from Jared Harper in the second half, and used aggressive defense to hassle Missouri in a 91-73 victory at Mizzou Arena tonight.
The Tigers (orange and blue) led 41-36 at halftime thanks to 13 first half points from Desean Murray. Murray was able to keep things held together while Auburn found its shot on rims that sounded much tighter than they’re used to. Auburn did shoot 11-12 from the foul line, which helped in keeping the five point lead at the break.
It wasn’t until the second half that things started to click for the Tiger offense. Auburn jumped out to a 49-40 lead before Missouri ran off eight straight to pull within a point. After that, Auburn ran off a 23-6 run to open up a 20-point lead at 74-54 thanks in large part to threes from Jared Harper and Chuma Okeke. Harper only had three points in the first half, but hit four threes after halftime and accumulated 16 points in that span as well. Okeke added a pair of threes, and Harper’s four assists helped as well.
During that 23-6 run, Auburn may have played its best basketball of the season, getting a hand on nearly every pass from Missouri while shooting the lights out on offense. With the victory, the Tigers improve to 6-1 in the SEC and take sole possession of first place in the conference standings.
Jared Harper led Auburn with 21 points, Bryce Brown and Desean Murray each added 16, while Mustapha Heron’s 14 and Chuma Okeke’s 10 provided plenty of cushion. Missouri was led by Kassius Robertson with 21 points.
Auburn (18-2, 6-1 SEC) returns home for three of the next four games, led off by a contest against LSU this Saturday at Auburn Arena with tipoff coming at 5 pm CST.