Bryce Brown dropped a career mark with 34 points, Jared Harper added 20, and Auburn beat the visiting Dayton Flyers 82-72 to improve to 8-1 on the season in the final game before the exam break.
The Tigers got the unbalanced scoring effort from the backcourt duo that shined in Maui, and they needed nearly all of the 54 combined points from Brown and Harper as the rest of the team had a bit of a subpar night. Dayton shot 48% from both the floor and three-point range, while also outrebounding Auburn 37-27, but it was 23 turnovers that the Tigers turned 32 points that made the difference in this game.
As usual, Auburn got off to a good start at home, using suffocating defense early and forcing Dayton into desperation shots late in the shot clock. The Tigers built a 17-4 lead at the 13:26 mark of the first half, but Dayton got hot from the floor and cut that mark to 23-19 six minutes later. Bryce Brown found his stroke at the end of the first half, hitting five free throws and three three-pointers in the final seven minutes to give Auburn a 51-32 lead at the half.
In the second period, Dayton cut the margin to just six at 58-52 with 13:31 left to play, but that was the closest they’d get the rest of the game. Auburn was able to use more of the clock and shorten the game in the second half despite not making many shots as Brown added 12 more points to help pace the Tiger offense.
In the end, Auburn shot 46% from the field (36% from distance), but made 14-17 free throws, and added 9 blocks and 10 steals. It was a game in which the stars shone, but the scoring was uneven. Either way, the Tigers got a win over a mid-major team that’s played everyone to the brink this season.
Up next, Auburn has a week off before meeting UAB in Birmingham on Saturday, December 15th. Tipoff for that game comes at 6:30 pm CST in Danjel Purifoy’s first game back from suspension.