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About Last Night: Auburn 88, Washington 66

Just like we drew it up.

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Auburn Julie Bennett-USA TODAY Sports

If you were getting ready for Auburn football’s game at Georgia at Auburn Arena last night, then you were doing the right thing. It’s best just to drive over to Athens today and spend as little time there as you can. That town is great when it’s not an Auburn-Georgia gameday, but otherwise it’s darn hostile.

However, Auburn Arena was downright hostile to another set of Dawgs last night.

My goodness, did the Tigers roll over #25 Washington.

Washington scored first, and that was the only time they led. The closest is was after Chuma Okeke’s three to open the scoring for Auburn was one point. The Tigers went on a 14-0 run and never looked back. It was complete domination from start to finish.

Looking at it from a historical perspective, this was the first game between ranked non-conference teams on the Plains in 31 years. Auburn certainly took advantage of the opportunity to get the best win of the SEC’s young season so far.

Bruce Pearl deserves a ton of credit for getting this thing to the point it is right now as well. We’re aware that Auburn has never really been the best basketball school save for a few seasons here and there. When I was a student during the Jeff Lebo years, we weren’t really outright terrible, but we were never really good either. Tony Barbee sunk us to a new low, and Pearl had his work cut out for us. Even during the 1999 SEC Championship season, Auburn only really had one game like last night against a ranked team, when they beat #19 Arkansas 83-66.

And the thing is, we were far - FAR - from perfect last night in a 22-point win over a ranked team. Austin Wiley saw his first action of the season and he was immeasurably rusty. He racked up fouls, turned the ball over, and looked out of sync. But he drew in the defense like a black hole in the middle, and never had less than two guys going after him when he went to the rack.

Jared Harper and Bryce Brown had subpar games. You’d think that our best shooters would dominate against a 2-3 team, but they had trouble finding the stroke from deep. Instead, Chuma Okeke and Samir Doughty paced the offense last nigh with 37 combined points. Chuma got a double-double after missing that mark by one rebound on Tuesday. And man, Samir Doughty has been great through two games for Auburn.

He’s smooth, efficient, and you can tell why VCU liked him so much. He’s a handsy defender (hopefully he doesn’t have a game where he racks up a few fouls), and he’s got a knack for poking the ball away. When he’s handling on offense, he’s so smooth and has range from all over the floor.

When Bruce Pearl gets to empty the bench two games in a row, it’s a beautiful thing. Fifteen guys played on Tuesday, and sixteen played last night. Walk-ons are going to have a full game under their belts by the time the season’s over at this rate.

Up next, Auburn gets Mississippi College on Wednesday night. That’ll be a cakewalk as the Tigers get ready for the Maui Invitational. They’ll open that event with Xavier a week from Monday out on the islands, with Duke awaiting in the wings if they beat the Musketeers. Let’s just say that RPI won’t be any sort of issue this year.

Thankfully, no matter what happens tonight in Athens, you can look forward to what Bruce Pearl’s doing on the hardwood. It’s a beautiful thing. War Eagle!