Auburn finished up the non-conference portion of the basketball schedule yesterday with an easy peezy 95-49 victory over North Florida at home, and the Tigers hit a little break before SEC play starts at 11-2. Check the highlights.
If there was one thing that we noticed about last night’s win, it was the fact that if you can’t hang on to the ball, Auburn’s going to make you pay. The Tigers came into the game with the nation’s best turnover percentage on defense, and the Ospreys were right near the bottom of the land in turnover percentage on offense. It resulted in 33 turnovers for North Florida, off of which Auburn scored 41 POINTS in a runaway win. When SEC play begins, Auburn will play teams ranked 119th (Ole Miss), 254th (Georgia), and 132nd (Texas A&M) in total turnovers, so there should be plenty of opportunities to make some bones in that capacity. It’ll especially help since the Ole Miss and A&M games are on the road, but Auburn’s defense should travel even if the shooting doesn’t.
Last night was clearly a game that Auburn was much more talented and much deeper than North Florida, so we don’t need to look too deeply into it. It was a warmup, a tuneup, for the final break before they hit the floor again. The Tigers won’t play until January 9th — A WEEK FROM WEDNESDAY WHY — and so we’re going to be bereft of Auburn basketball news until then. We will get to see the rest of the league start to play later this week, so that will be interesting.
There are a couple of interesting notes from last night, though. If Auburn was worried about Bryce Brown falling into a slump, he popped out yesterday hitting 5-10 three-pointers, so hopefully that carries through the break into Oxford on the 9th. Chuma Okeke continued to be a really solid and steadying player on the floor with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals, and 5-8 shooting. Austin Wiley was the same way, showing more and more dominance on the inside, as he finished with 13 points and 7 rebounds. Oh, and yeah...
HORACE SPENCER, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.
HORACE SPENCER FOR THREEEEEEEEEEEE! @horace_spencer0 drains his first of his career.— Auburn Basketball (@AuburnMBB) December 29, 2018
Auburn 66, UNF 35#WarEagle pic.twitter.com/fEjGwLtmQW
It was awesome, and it preceded a complete runaway as Malik Dunbar followed with a three of his own, then had back to back jams later on. Bruce Pearl almost seemed like he was trying to finalize a lineup with the 8 guys that he can really lean on the most once conference play starts. Auburn can truly go 10 deep, but we’ve seen some issues with the multitude of different lineups and finding rhythm.
Now, Austin Wiley seems poised to start the rest of the way, taking Anfernee McLemore’s spot, and Samir Doughty looks like he’s locked in that forward spot as Danjel Purifoy still needs time to work in slowly. Thankfully, there are 10 days before the Tigers take the court again, so there’s plenty of time to rest and get a little break.
January 9th in Oxford against Ole Miss — seems like a lifetime away! War Eagle!