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Auburn vs New Mexico Game Preview and Open Thread

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Auburn heads to the Big Apple for the first of 2 games, beginning with tonight’s game against New Mexico.

NCAA Basketball: Colgate at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Monday November 25th

Opponent: New Mexico Lobos

Location: Barclays Center - Brooklyn, New York

Time: 8:30PM

Network: ESPNNEWS, Auburn Radio Network

It’s been a long week since Auburn Basketball last took the court but we’ve made it through and now we get rewarded with back to back nights of Auburn Basketball in Brooklyn!

Auburn has made their way to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and tonight, the Tigers take on the 5-1 New Mexico Lobos out of the Mountain West Conference. Auburn will face either Richmond or Wisconsin on Tuesday pending on how tonight’s results pan out.

Get to Know New Mexico

The Lobos only blemish on the year came at UTEP when what would have been a game tying half court 3-pointer was ruled no good because time had expired. Otherwise, the Tigers could be facing an undefeated New Mexico team tonight. This Lobos team also is coming off a 1-point win at New Mexico State Thursday night. The Lobos scored 90+ in their first 4 games and average 85.5 points a game coming into tonight’s matchup. New Mexico’s roster is made up of several players who have transferred from other Power 5 schools.

The Lobos are led by senior guard JaQuan Lyle (#5) who began his career at Ohio State. Lyle is playing outstanding after missing the last 2 years due to the transfer and then rupturing his Achilles forcing him to miss all of last year. In his first 6 games this year, he is averaging 19.8 points, 5.2 assists and 4.3 rebounds a game. He is shooting 43.8% from 3 this year (14-32). He also averages 5 turnovers a game so one of the keys to this game will be can the Tigers continue to play great defense and force Lyle into turnovers that he has been susceptible to so far this year. I expect to see Isaac Okoro on him throughout the game tonight.

Senior forward Carlton Bragg (#15) has spent time at both Kansas and Arizona State in his career before making his way to Albuquerque. He is 3rd on the team in scoring averaging 11.8 points but also averages 9.8 rebounds a game. His matchup in the paint against Austin Wiley and Anfernee McLemore will go a long way in determining the outcome of this game.

Junior forward Makuach Maluach (#10) is the 4th Lobos player averaging double figures averaging 11.5 points per game. Rounding out the Starting 5 are juniors Texas A&M transfer J.J. Caldwell (#11) and UConn transfer Vance Jackson (#2). Jackson averages 6.7 PPG and Caldwell 5.3 PPG with Caldwell adding 5.3 assists a game.

While the Lobos go primarily with an 8-man rotation, they get solid contributions from their bench. Senior forward Corey Manigault (#1) began his career at Pittsburgh and while he doesn’t start, he’s 2nd on the team at 12.3 points a game. Junior guard Zane Martin (#0) who started his career at Towson averages 10 points a game off the bench so 2 of the 5 Lobos leading scorers come off the bench for Paul Weir’s group.

Keys for Auburn

Did the Headband make the trip to Brooklyn for Samir Doughty? He’s averaging 26.5 points a game in the 2 games in which he’s worn the headband. He’s also been a viral internet sensation over the last week for destroying Jordan Burns of Colgate on this play last time out.

All kidding aside, Doughty is putting together a really good year so far leading Auburn with 18.8 PPG. He’s played great on both sides of the ball and scored in a variety of ways. While Doughty played his role well last year, he has stepped up so far this year as a leader on this team. With Doughty being from Philadelphia, this is almost a home game for him so I have a feeling Samir’s going to step up big once again wanting to play well close to home.

I feel like Danjel Purifoy is due for a breakout game as well. While he’s 3rd on the team averaging 11.2 points a game, he’s gone about his business somewhat quietly as Doughty and Isaac Okoro have gotten the headlines. The last time Auburn played in New York City, Danjel put up 27 points and it seems like the bright lights bring out the best in Purifoy. If Samir isn’t tonight’s leading scorer, I’m thinking it could be Danjel.

Prediction

I’d be lying if I wasn’t a tad nervous about this game. The Lobos have played well to start the season and are riding high after knocking off New Mexico State. Auburn is the better team but we’ll see which Tigers team comes out after a week off. I think Auburn wins the game but I fully expect this to be a close game.

Auburn 79 New Mexico 72