December 4, 2018 - Auburn Arena
Pregame, the focus at Auburn Arena was on a QB that was about to make his decision on where to finish his collegiate career. The former Clemson Tiger, Kelly Bryant, would end up choosing Missouri over Auburn and there was some disappointment in the crowd for sure but it was time for Auburn Basketball.
On paper, this game was quite the mismatch. UNCA was the worst team in the country at Turnover % while Auburn was 2nd in the country at forcing turnovers. However, this was one of those games that Auburn had to grind out on the offensive side of the ball.
The Bulldogs strategy was to slow the game down and limit the number of possessions Auburn had and they did a good job in doing that. They just were unable to score on most of their possessions.
Both teams struggled to score early but Austin Wiley gave Auburn a boost off the bench. Wiley blocked 2 shots on his first 3 defensive possessions and converted a 3-point play and dunk moments later to give Auburn a 10-5 lead 6 minutes in.
At the under 4 timeout, Auburn led 20-13 as both teams struggled to scored and the game was played at UNC Asheville’s tempo. A 9-0 run late would put the Tigers up 16, highlighted by a converted 4-point play from Jared Harper, his first points of the game.
Auburn led 33-18 at halftime.
Bryce Brown got a steal and dunk to start the 2nd half to put Auburn up 35-18 10 seconds in. Samir Doughty hit a pair of layups and Chuma Okeke knocked down to give Auburn its first 20 point lead of the night, 42-22. It was a start of a 13-0 run that was punctuated with back to back buckets from Horace Spencer and the Tigers took full control of the game, and a 52-22 lead with 12:49 to go.
Malik Dunbar would bring the house down with another #ClassicMalik moment on an alley-oop dunk courtesy of Jared Harper.
Auburn would force 25 turnovers as the Tigers defense overwhelmed the outmanned Bulldogs. It’s the fewest points Auburn had given up in a game since holding Alabama to 37 points in a 49-37 win back in 2013.
Austin Wiley led the way with 14 points and 5 blocks. Samir Doughty had 13 points and 6 rebounds. Jared Harper had 9 points and 5 assists and Malik Dunbar finished with 8 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals.
Here are the highlights!