Let’s face it, I don’t think anybody knew what to expect today but there were a lot of encouraging things that came out of today.
Most importantly, we got to see Auburn Basketball make their triumphant return to the court and got a victory in the process. But it wasn’t easy.
It may be a new year but we’re still getting the same close heart-stopping finishes we saw last year.
Just as these two teams did in their previous meeting back in 2003, the team’s needed 45 minutes to settle this one and as it did in 2003, the Tigers came out on top 96-91.
The Tigers led for the majority of the contest and seemingly looked poised to pull away several times in this one, leading by 11 on a few occasions.
Auburn’s defense in the paint was great early as Stretch Akingbola and J.T. Thor make quite a pair of defenders in the paint. Here’s one of 3 blocks from Stretch on the day.
Auburn led 44-36 at halftime. The Tigers went with a 10-man lineup and 9 of those 10 scored in the 1st half and were led by 10 points from Allen Flanigan.
Saint Joseph’s came out of the gate hot from 3 early in the 2nd half and cut Auburn’s lead to 4 but the Tigers dominated the offensive glass all day and this hustle play here led to a dunk underneath for Jaylin Williams.
Auburn would go back up by 11 point lead 6 1⁄2 minutes into the 2nd half courtesy of a great hustle play from Chris Moore to set up a 3 from Justin Powell.
A couple minutes later, Williams got another dunk courtesy of some beautiful passing from Turbo Jones.
An 11-3 run cut Auburn’s lead to 1 with about 6 minutes left but Turbo Jones, who started at point for Auburn, knocked down a rainbow 3-pointer to put the Tigers back up 4.
This was a 2 point game as we entered the final minute, 80-78. The Hawks would go to the line after a very questionable foul call on Stretch Akingbola, 1 of 57 fouls called in this contest. The Hawks made 1-2 from the line with about a minute to go but would get the offensive rebound and putback to take an 81-80 lead. A turnover on Auburn’s end led to a breakaway layup for Saint Joe’s as they led 83-80 with about 30 seconds to go. Allen Flanigan came down the court on the next possession and was fouled, making both free throws. After the Hawks made 1-2 from the line, Auburn got the ball with a chance to tie the game with 24 seconds left. Take it away Jaylin!
Saint Joe’s 3-point attempt fell short at the end of regulation and we needed bonus basketball.
Williams came up big once again in Overtime as this play gave Auburn a 91-90 lead.
With the game tied at 91, Williams bucket with 1:10 left would put Auburn up for good.
The 3s didn’t fall for Saint Joe’s in Overtime as they were 0-6 from distance in the extra session and Auburn was able to knock down their free throws in the closing moments to seal the win.
Auburn finished +16 on the boards (56-39) and had 21 offensive rebounds in the contest. This led to 30 2nd chance points. They also shot 9-32 from 3 and 29-43 from the free throw line.
Auburn had 5 players score in double-figures as the team went with a 10 man rotation for this one.
Auburn was led today by Jaylin Williams, who posted his first career double-double, scoring 18 points and also had 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Justin Powell, who alongside Turbo Jones, handled the Point Guard duties without Sharife Cooper, showed flashes of the potential we had heard about him going into the season as he finished with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Powell made a team-high 3 3-pointers in the contest and he certainly got the approval from one former Auburn legendary shooter.
Thats a shooter right there— Bryce Brown (@Bwb_2) November 26, 2020
Turbo Jones scored in double figures for the first time in his career adding 11 points. All total, Jones and Powell combined for 28 points and had just 2 turnovers between them.
Devan Cambridge also had his first career double-double scoring 13 points along with 10 rebounds. Allen Flanigan finished with 12 points.
Auburn also got 7 points each from Stretch Akingbola, J.T. Thor and Chris Moore.
For more advanced statistics, check out this thread here!
Here we go... Advanced Box Score Number 1https://t.co/u2MM5GRrHn— Ryan Sterritt (@RyanSSterritt) November 27, 2020
It doesn’t get any easier as the Tigers now have about 15 hours to get ready for a monster test against #1 Gonzaga at 10AM tomorrow on FOX. The Bulldogs beat Kansas earlier today 102-90 and have quite the juggernaut of an offense. Regardless of tomorrow’s results, the Tigers at worst will leave Fort Myers with a split and will learn a whole lot about themselves from this experience.
This team will be a lot of fun to watch this year and at times it will be frustrating, but the growth and potential we saw today is something we should all be excited about going forward.