After taking on the first half of our Auburn athletics gauntlet against top-ranked teams, we hope that tomorrow’s result on the gridiron is a little closer. If nothing else, Auburn’s young freshmen and sophomores got a fantastic look at the upper crust of college basketball at the Fort Myers Tip-Off today. Gonzaga put on a show and routed the Tigers 90-67 in the second game as the trio of stars in Drew Timme, Corey Kispert, and Jalen Suggs combined for 65 points to pace the Bulldogs.
Auburn falls to 1-1 with the loss, and will next play against UCF on Monday night at 6 pm CST. Today, the Tigers essentially got a guilt-free exhibition against the best team in the country, and were able to see offensive development of Allen Flanigan, who led Auburn with 20 points, and continued to watch the early progress of guys like Justin Powell, Stretch Akingbola, and Turbo Jones. However, the turnovers and huge advantage in the paint, as well as the absence of a true point guard really hampered Auburn and ended any chance they’d have to spring the upset early.
The first half started with Auburn showing its strategy early — try to connect on some three-pointers to even things out with the discrepancy in the paint — and it worked for a couple of minutes. Unfortunately, Gonzaga worked quickly and, taking some assistance from unforced Auburn turnovers, built a 16-6 edge at the first media timeout. Auburn settled in and kept the margin the same, but stopped the bleeding as they pulled within a 26-16 margin at the under-12 stoppage. By this time, Jaylin Williams (Auburn’s leading scorer yesterday) had accrued two fouls and had to spend ample time on the bench. He’d be called for his third foul moments later and would have little impact on the first half.
At the midway point of the first half, a Javon Franklin dunk cut the Bulldog lead to 28-20, which was the closest that Auburn would get it the rest of the way, and Gonzaga turned on the heat after that. Two minutes later, Auburn trailed 35-20, but cut the margin to single digits for the final time with a Devan Cambridge three-pointer at the 5:34 mark of the first half. Leading 39-30, Gonzaga then went on a 10-5 run to close out the half and lead 49-35 at the break.
Out of the locker room, Gonzaga went on a quick 7-0 burst to build their largest lead of the game, but Allen Flanigan’s back-to-back threes and dunk a moment later kept Auburn somewhat within striking distance. At the 11:45 mark, an Anton Watson layup gave Gonzaga a 74-47 lead for their largest of the game thus far, before Justin Powell buried a triple for the first bucket scored by anyone other than Flanigan in the second half.
Gonzaga just went through their game for the rest of the contest, leading 80-52 at the under-8 timeout, as Jaylin Williams earned his fourth foul. Both teams seemed resigned to the inevitable end result, and Auburn trailed 88-64 at the final timeout of the game, before falling 90-67 in the end.