Saturday was absolutely amazing, everything except the result. As a avid sports fan, you dream of being in environments like there was in Auburn on Saturday. The country got to see Auburn on the national stage and while the Tigers didn’t get the W, they saw a team scratch and claw their way back into a game that they could have easily been blown out in. But enough personal reflection, it’s time to show some plays!
We’ll start at the very beginning of the game:
Alright, while this will be tough to do, time to work on the rewatch for Deep Cuts for @CollegeAndMag (because I didn’t devote enough time today to this game). Here’s the first play of the game. Beautiful set play and perfectly executed backdoor cut to get Auburn on the board. pic.twitter.com/jHCRE7BUXt— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 20, 2019
This is a great way to start of the basketball game. Auburn works the ball, per usual, behind the 3 point line and then Jared Harper gets behind the defense for an easy lay-in. Beautiful execution by the Tigers!
Malik Dunbar’s hustle leads to a Bryce Brown 3:
If you look at the box score, you would be absolutely shocked that this was Bryce’s only points in the first half. Great hustle from Malik started this possession and Bryce gets the shooters roll here. pic.twitter.com/owYyPvQp1w— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 20, 2019
Bryce Brown went OFF in the 2nd half Saturday. Which makes it hard to fathom he took just 2 shots in the first half. Leave Bryce open at your own peril though. Here he gets the bounce off the front rim and it goes in.
A THROW IT DOWN Moment:
Another well-executed backdoor cut and this time, Gilbert AKA Horace Spencer throws it down!!! Can’t question that young man’s heart after taking the hard foul, getting bloodied up and back in the game really quick. But we’ll get there later. pic.twitter.com/j3uutYqOZV— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 20, 2019
We lament over the lack of half-court offense A LOT! But here, the defense collapses on Bryce on the perimeter and Horace is able to get behind the defenders for an easy slam.
Chuma going inside to start the 2nd half:
With Wiley out for a couple weeks at least, this type of play is a must for Chuma Okeke going forward. pic.twitter.com/anTSx3v5dB— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 20, 2019
Austin Wiley’s injury is extremely unfortunate for Auburn. These are the types of games Wiley came back to school to play in and it’s a shame he wasn’t able to play. So now you have to have other guys step up in that role. I thought Chuma played great in the second half. Here he gets a tough catch in the post and goes to work on P.J. Washington. For Auburn to be successful over the next few weeks, Chuma has to be more aggressive and make plays like this on a more routine basis.
A lot happening here. First, good ole Classic Malik on the incredible reverse layup but Kentucky comes down and responds immediately. pic.twitter.com/yaELNlWY7B— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 20, 2019
We nearly had one of those Classic Malik Alley-Oops in this one where Dickie V would have lost his marbles. Instead Mallik, makes the adjustment mid-air for a circus lay-in. I think the fact he was able to do that was equally as impressive as a dunk would be.
However, to Kentucky’s credit they go the other way and convert on the other end. The Wildcats did this time and time again when the crowd really tried to get back into the game with a big Auburn basket. Plays like this is where Auburn missed Wiley Saturday. Kentucky had a big size advantage and took full advantage of it. The Kentucky kids were quite composed given the environment they faced Saturday.
Your writer goes nuts on another Bryce Brown 3:
And then.... Bryce makes a 3 and Will goes beserk. pic.twitter.com/Za4AzCTVCU— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 20, 2019
In the second half, Bryce was 7-7 from the field, 5-5 from 3-point range and 6-6 from the free throw line. An incredible half from Brown for sure. Bryce gets an open look before the Kentucky defenders get there and makes them pay.
Another Deep 3 from Bryce!
When Bryce Brown is on, it’s incredible to watch. This got it down to 3. pic.twitter.com/wFPKep8Ma8— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 20, 2019
Sir Charles approved of this play. After a ticky tack foul on Dunbar, Keldon Johnson missed 2 free throws and Auburn ran back down the court and executed the offense well. Most would call this a bad shot but not for Bryce. First time that Auburn cut the once 17 point deficit back to 3. They did it on 3 separate occasions. Kentucky would score 5 straight after this basket.
Bryce Brown vs. Tyler Herro
Auburn did a good defending Hagans today, in turn he did a great defending Harper. Bryce hits another 3 but once again, Tyler Herro responds on the other end. pic.twitter.com/UUnCGnVp5b— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 20, 2019
Bryce Brown and Tyler Herro had a great battle in the second making big shot after big shot. Bryce does a great job forcing Hagans shot to come up short before going down and hitting another 3-pointer. However, Herro, who scored 15 of his 20 in the second half responds with a huge 3 on the other end. At this point, you started to wonder if Auburn could get over the hump and get the lead cut to less than 3.
Don’t Mess with Horace Spencer!!
Never underestimate the heart of Horace Spencer. Gets knocked down, stitched back up and scores on his first touch back in the game. 55 looks good on you Horace! pic.twitter.com/h4qV7uSi1S— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 20, 2019
I think Horace missed about 13 seconds of game time. Credit to the training staff getting him to stop bleeding, patched back up and right back into the game. The place exploded when he came back into the game and #55 went to work in the paint. Angry Horace made it a point to get the ball and Bryce fed it to him and Horace does the rest over Reid Travis. Horace embodies what Auburn is all about and you saw it on this sequence.
Auburn Takes the Lead!!!
Jared Harper from Harpersville!!!!! pic.twitter.com/jYn1wH0cAT— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 20, 2019
Ashton Hagans did a great job of slowing Jared Harper Saturday. But not on this play. Jared knew he was going to take the shot in that situation and he drilled it! At this moment, I thought Auburn was going to pull this one off!
You see in the middle of the clip Bryce flop to try and draw a foul on Reid Travis, to no avail. This really put Auburn’s defense in scramble mode as you see Horace pick Bryce up and Jared gets distracted for a split second seeing Bryce on the ground. Kentucky was able to get the ball to Herro and was fouled and he made what turned into the winning free throws.
The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat
Last one: This was a good play out of the timeout and everything worked. Except the ball rolled out of the hoop..... that’s tough man. Alright, I’ll have Deep Cuts out Monday on @CollegeAndMag with some of my favorites I’ve shared with ya’ll tonight. War Eagle always!!!! pic.twitter.com/ICIjRYHWk4— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 20, 2019
I still can’t believe this didn’t go in. Auburn makes sure they put the ball in the hands of one of their best playmakers to get a good shot. You can wonder why Bryce didn’t get a shot in the last minute of the game but this was a good possession for Auburn. 9 times out of 10 that ball goes in for Jared. A game of inches also applies to basketball and what could have been for Auburn.
That’s all for this week. Auburn plays at South Carolina tomorrow night at 5:30PM and then at #22 Mississippi State Saturday night at 7:30PM. War Eagle!