Do you remember that episode of The Office with the fun run? After Meredith got rabies and Michael organized a 5K? And when Jim asked Pam what her strategy was, she responded “I’m gonna start fast, go fast in the middle, and finish fast.”
That’s what Auburn did tonight in obliterating LSU, 95-70.
LSU coach Will Wade: "What do you want to talk about? We got whipped every way you can get whipped. It was an absolute bludgeoning."— Josh Vitale (@AUBlog) January 28, 2018
It was essentially over from the first segment of the game, during which time Mustapha Heron hit his first five threes, and had 16 points by the time we hit the first timeout of the game. Auburn led 19-6 at the under-16 timeout of the first half, and never looked back.
The first half was a clinic defensively on the guy that made LSU’s offense work, as Tremont Waters dished out exactly zero assists, committed six turnovers, and finished with just 4 points. Auburn’s offense hit eleven threes before halftime, shot better than 52%, and the defense forced LSU into 16 first half turnovers. It was 51-32 at the break, and that even that seemed low compared to the carnage that occurred out of the gate.
After halftime, Bryce Brown opened the scoring with a three, and any possible chance that LSU had was gone in the blink of an eye. Auburn started to force LSU into fouling situations, and the Tigers went 13-17 at the line after halftime, while Desean Murray made his presence known with numerous hustle plays, including the dagger that essentially ended LSU’s time on the Plains.
Auburn was just quicker, faster, stronger, and better in all areas. This was the breakout game that we needed to see to ensure that the Tigers would start to be taken more seriously. After beating two teams ranked in the KenPom top 60 this week, we should see a bigger jump in the polls for Auburn. Two big margins in the wins this week will hopefully give the nation notice and push the Tigers into the top fifteen, but we’ll see.
On the night, Mustapha Heron led all scorers with 21 points, while Desean Murray kept the offense moving in the second half and finished with 18 points. Chuma Okeke had an exceptionally efficient night with 14 points on 6-7 shooting, and Bryce Brown hit five threes for 15 points. LSU got 18 points from Duop Reath, who was pretty much the only consistent offensive threat for the Bayou Bengals.
Auburn (19-2, 7-1 SEC) will be on the floor again on Tuesday night at Ole Miss, with tipoff coming at 8 pm CST at the new Pavilion. After that it’s a return home for the first two games in February as Vanderbilt and Texas A&M come calling.
War. Damn. Eagle!