When you’re coming off a SEC Regular Season Championship, a SEC Tournament Championship and a Final Four appearance in the last 2 years, you have to know you’re going to get everybody’s best shot this season and last night was no exception. Vanderbilt is on their way back to being one of the better teams in the SEC, yes they are 8-6 overall right now, but they have great guard play with Aaron Nesmith and Saben Lee and they’re going to win some games in the SEC this season. When they figure out how to close games out, look out. Quite frankly, I’m glad we played these guys early in the season.
Now it’s time to look back at 5 of the biggest and best plays from last night’s win for Auburn. These plays are in chronological order but I have a feeling you’ll see a soul crushing dunk on this list somewhere.
Play #1 - Isaac Okoro “Yes and a Foul!”
Okoro did this by my count 3 times last night in the 1st half and 1 of those is shown below. Okoro set the tone early on both sides of the ball and had 17 points in the 1st half. While his defense has been magnificent, if he plays like he did last night on the offensive side of the ball, the sky is the limit for Okoro.
Time to look back at some of the biggest plays from last night: we’ll start with 1 of a trio of And-1s from Isaac Okoro who had a career high 23 points. pic.twitter.com/sN6iZwzXXG— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 9, 2020
Play #2 - Anfernee McLemore’s Reverse Lay-Up
Anfernee McLemore and Isaac Okoro carried the load for Auburn in the 1st half last night and with Austin Wiley dealing with foul trouble, McLemore stepped up big time. He tied his season-high with 14 points (all in the 1st half) and in addition to knocking down a couple of 3s (he hit 2 of the team’s 5 3s last night), he also had a nifty play under the basket that I wanted to share.
Anfernee McLemore doesn’t get the headlines but he was enormous in the 1st half last night putting points on the board with Okoro. pic.twitter.com/4v8xsmNuAq— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 9, 2020
Play #3 - Isaac Okoro from Distance!!
If there’s a knock on Isaac Okoro from most people, it’s his offensive game, especially his shooting. Including this 3-pointer, Okoro is shooting just 24% from 3-point range this year. But I have to tell you, this shot looked pretty darn good to me.
This 3 from Okoro looked pretty good to me. If he hits this on a more consistent basis, look out!!! pic.twitter.com/Edg7lXrSrb— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 9, 2020
Play #4 - Isaac Okoro crushes the soul of a Vandy Player
I’ll just let the clip(s) explain itself, nothing I can say here would do it justice.
Isaac Okoro just had the dunk of the year: pic.twitter.com/RIbQY57G6K— Auburn Hoops Fan Account (@aubawn) January 9, 2020
Play #5 - Danjel Purifoy’s Defense helps seal the Win!
Vanderbilt kept fighting and seemingly couldn’t miss coming down the stretch. Auburn had 14 point lead and Commodores came back to tie the game with a minute left. Auburn made some free throws but Vandy got the ball back with 22.8 seconds left down 82-79. With the way Vandy was shooting from 3, anything could have happened there.
Insert Danjel Purifoy.
Danjel’s Defense helps put a bow on Auburn’s 14th straight win to start the year. pic.twitter.com/am7rSVTlZ5— Will McLaughlin (@ShootyHoopsWill) January 9, 2020
Purifoy has come a LONG way on the defensive end and even when he has struggled to score, he’s remained active and engaged on the defensive end. He never gave Vandy an opportunity to get a chance at the tying shot and that helped seal Auburn’s 14th straight win to start the season!