Auburn blasted Missouri in the second half last night to win by 34 points, the largest SEC win at Auburn Arena! A close game at the intermission turned into a three-point barrage as the Tigers (orange ones) hit 11-20 shots from behind the arc after halftime, and scored as many points (58) in the second half as Missouri did all game long.
3️⃣4️⃣ point W in front of the home crowd.— Auburn Basketball (@AuburnMBB) January 31, 2019
» https://t.co/u6lyt00ThB#WarEagle x #UnfinishedBusiness pic.twitter.com/YNnCJ6CA96
Jared Harper led all scorers with 16 points, but it was Chuma Okeke who may have had his best game of the season, hitting 14 points and 12 rebounds. We’ve talked at length about how Mustapha Heron’s absence has limited Auburn greatly, and if Chuma can get to a point where he’s becoming that extra dependable scorer, then the Tigers are going to be so much better. Bruce agrees...
I enjoyed hearing this quote from Auburn HC Bruce Pearl tonight on Chuma Okeke:— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) January 31, 2019
(with a cameo from @bmarcello's not-blind eye) pic.twitter.com/WzMkkkH9e6
And his rebounding was fantastic, which Auburn needs in the absence of Austin Wiley in the middle. Wiley could (please) be back for Alabama this weekend, but if he’s not, we’ll need more Chuma in the paint.
With Wiley out, let me show you the most positive sign we could have seen from this game: https://t.co/A6L4mWRHag— Jerry Hinnen (@JerryHinnen) January 31, 2019
If you watched the SEC Network broadcast, you probably heard the announcers astonished at the number of threes that Auburn attempted.
41 threes. That’s a lot. The thing is, at home, I’d absolutely love to see Auburn do that every game, especially when they’re good looks, which they were last night. There were only a few contested or hurried shots from deep, and most of the time that Auburn was missing came in the first half on shots that rimmed out. Once the teams switched ends of the floor, things were much better, and the Tigers hit 55% from deep after halftime. The flurry continued so long, that even the walk-ons got to have a little fun.
This was the Auburn bench reaction to walk-on Devontae Williams hitting the final 3-pointer of the game. pic.twitter.com/WeqJ79rw0M— Benjamin Wolk (@benjaminwolk) January 31, 2019
Either way, the announcers couldn’t believe that Auburn would still jack up shots like that, but you saw what happened when the lead blossomed from 34-31 at halftime to 53-37 in about five minutes. Auburn made shots. They hit six threes in that span and it completely blew the game open. Auburn went up by 20 points right after that, and Missouri wouldn’t get any close than that the rest of the way.
ARE WE STILL SHOOTING TOO MANY THREES YOU FOOLS?!— Son of Crow (@SonOfCrow2) January 31, 2019
In the analytics’ minds, our own intrepid Son of Crow is right. Three points are more than two points. There’s a reason the three-pointer has become such a popular thing in the NBA. Why shoot it from 19 feet if that’s only worth two points, when 21 feet gets you three?
Last night was the game that Auburn needed — a big, rollicking, blowout victory at home. Saturday’s going to come with an even tougher task, but I think this Tiger team is up to the challenge. Alabama’s suddenly not bad, winning games at home against Mississippi State and Ole Miss, and losing close ones on the road against Tennessee and Baylor (who are both in first place in their respective conferences). Earlier this season they did lose at LSU and at home to Texas A&M, so the Tide are certainly good for an unexplainable loss, but this is a team that Auburn can’t afford to lose to. These home games are super important after the rough stretch, and the Tigers may have gotten back on the horse last night. We’ll have more on this Saturday night’s huge game at Auburn Arena coming up. War Eagle!