This one was over before it started.
Auburn buried six threes in the first seven minutes and opened up a 22-1 lead over the Arkansas Razorbacks, never looking back as the Tigers nabbed SEC win number seven by a final score of 79-56.
The Tigers built a 30-point lead during the first half, led by 25 at the break, and got an incredibly even scoring effort, sparked by Malik Dunbar early in his first start of the season. Auburn didn’t shoot well at the foul line and turned the ball over a ton, but the rebounding game was fabulous, and the three-point shooting effort was such a huge disparity that nothing else mattered.
From the start, it was a clinic in efficiency. Three-pointers by Anfernee McLemore, Dunbar, Chuma Okeke, Bryce Brown, and Samir Doughty opened up that 21-point lead barely six minutes into the game. Arkansas’ first field goal came on a long jumper by Gabe Osabuohien just after that, but the Tigers easily built a 39-9 edge on Samir Doughty’s three-point play near the five-minute mark of the first half. Arkansas cut that margin to 25 points in the closing seconds, but McLemore swatted an Adrio Bailey layup into the glass for a huge definitive block, and Auburn led 45-20 at the half. Nine Tigers scored in the first half, during which Auburn shot 48% overall, and 10-19 from downtown, while forcing 11 turnovers in the process.
Out of the intermission, Auburn kept its foot on the gas, running out a 9-2 spurt into the first break to open up a 54-22 edge at the first timeout. Chuma Okeke hit his third three to become the first double-digit scorer for either side, but Arkansas trimmed the deficit a bit. Isaiah Joe hit multiple threes and the lead dwindled to 22 points, but Bryce Brown shut the run down with two straight scores, and Auburn led 60-33 at the under-12 timeout. After an exclamation point McLemore dunk on a nice pass from Dunbar, Auburn held a 69-45 edge at the 7:00 mark, and cruised on to the victory from there, winning 79-56 in the end.
Bryce Brown led four Auburn Tigers in double figures with 18 points, including a 5-8 performance from downtown, while Chuma Okeke had another Chuma game. He finished with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks, and a steal. Anfernee McLemore added 13, and Jared Harper notched 10 as well. Overall, the Tigers shot 50% from the floor (26-52 FGs), and 52% from three (17-33), while Arkansas hit just 4-26 three-pointers.
With the victory, Auburn improves to 7-6 in SEC play, with the toughest of road trips coming at Kentucky on Saturday for a 12:30 PM tipoff. Arkansas falls to 5-8 in the league. The Tigers are now tied with Florida and Mississippi State in the standings, and just one game back of Ole Miss for fifth place in the SEC.