On Election Day, the USA lost.
Tonight, Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers looked like the team that beat Tennessee on the road, blew out Alabama, LSU, and Vandy, and beat Kentucky at home. It looked like the team that won the SEC regular season title.
This team was ruthless, efficient, explosive, and merciless in a complete 101-58 destruction of the Jaguars at Auburn Arena in the season opener.
It didn’t take long for Auburn to get going, with Anfernee McLemore scoring the first points of the season on a dunk. That basket was followed by four threes by Jared Harper, Bryce Brown, and VCU transfer Samir Doughty. Auburn built a 24-7 lead at the under-12 timeout, and led by 27 points on Brown’s three with six minutes left in the half. USA cut the margin to just 15 a few minutes later, but never cut it closer than that as the Tigers led 52-33 at halftime.
The second half was much of the same as the three-pointers kept falling and Auburn added another 49 points. Bruce Pearl emptied the bench and played fifteen different players in the victory.
Auburn did a fantastic job of spreading the ball around with 24 assists on 38 made field goals, they shot 51% from the floor and hit 18-38 from three (47%) in the domination. Jared Harper scored 20 points to lead Auburn alongside Chuma Okeke’s 20 points. Harper also hit 6-10 three-pointers, while Bryce Brown added 12 points on 4-9 shooting from downtown. All five scorers hit double figures, including Samir Doughty, who notched 14 points on 5-7 shooting.
The Tigers only had 13 turnovers, 8 blocks, and 40 points in the paint. Of all the numbers, the one spot for obvious improvement comes at the foul line, where Auburn hit just 7-14 foul shots. Other than that, it’s a great start for Auburn, and it all came without Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy. Doughty was doubtful up until recent days, and he looked great after shaking off the rust in the opening minutes. This is a long team, and it’s only going to get better and better with tons of talent being added in once we get guys back from injury and suspension.
Auburn will take on #25 Washington on Friday night in a battle of ranked teams at Auburn Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 pm CST on the SEC Network.