Auburn improved to 3-0 last night with an exceptionally easy win over Division II MIssissippi College. The Tigers ran out to a 16-0 lead, had a 35-0 run in the second half, and won 103-52.
There were a couple of periods near the end of the first half and the beginning of the second that the Tigers clearly looked like they had their minds in Maui, but the starters gave way to a hungry bench bunch that put the hammer down. Horace Spencer in particular was dominant last night, and the effort on the boards was outstanding.
Check out Ryan Sterritt and Will McLaughlin giving some brief thoughts after the game (apologies for the cutoff midway through...)
What made last night great was that the backups came in and dominated. Absolutely dominated. Bruce Pearl wasn’t pleased with his starters after halftime, when they allowed the Choctaws to cut the lead to 11 points, but the second stringers looked like hungry dogs in a butcher shop.
Like we mentioned, Spencer’s line was insane. 14 points, 17 rebounds, IN 19 MINUTES. That’s nearly a point and a rebound each minute he was on the floor!
TONIGHT'S NERD STATS, HORACE SPENCER EDITION— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) November 15, 2018
Spencer's PER tonight was 28. The second-closest on the team was Austin Wiley at 21. The highest of any starter was 16.
Spencer also got an offensive rebound on 43.2 percent of the missed shots Auburn had when he was on the floor.
Austin Wiley was much improved from his few minutes against Washington as well, leading all scorers with 18 points, but he was great at the foul line, going 8-10 in the win. It came at the right time as Auburn gets ready for Maui and a matchup with Xavier on Monday afternoon.
At times last night I was worried, because there were too many tall Auburn players trying to rebound and I thought that they’d get confused and tip the ball out of bounds. That didn’t happen, and the Tigers grabbed 66 rebounds. That’s an almost unfathomable number.
Auburn’s averaging over 97 points per game through three outings, which is good for 18th in the country at the moment, and there’s no better way to finish off games that with Malik Dunbar throwing down an exclamation point jam.
And from the other side...
Up next, it’s the Xavier Musketeers. Xavier lost its first game of the season to Wisconsin earlier this week, and they struggled in doing so, shooting just 21% from three and 56% from the foul line while only grabbing 30 rebounds at home. Naji Marshall scored 24 and had 13 boards, but he was pretty much the only threat for Xavier as the 77-68 score wasn’t quite as close as it would indicate. Auburn has a great chance to dominate on the glass on Monday to advance in Maui.