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South Alabama at Auburn Game Preview and Open Thread

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After 3 games in Florida, the Tigers finally play their home opener tonight!

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at Auburn Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Friday December 4th, 2020

South Alabama Jaguars at Auburn Tigers

Time: 8PM

Network: SEC Network, Auburn Radio Network

After a 1-2 start in Florida, Auburn finally returns home to play in front of their home crowd for the first time this season as they host South Alabama in Auburn Arena.

Auburn looks to break a 2-game losing streak after losses to Gonzaga and UCF. Auburn struggled offensively Monday night scoring just 55 points on the Knights.

Tonight’s game will complete a 3 game series between the 2 programs. Auburn won a thriller, 70-69, in Mobile last season.

Get to Know South Alabama

It’s a whole new group for South Alabama this season as there are no players from last year’s team that played Auburn still on the roster.

South Alabama comes into Auburn at 3-1 on the season. They have 2 Non-D1 wins and a win over Florida Atlantic. Their lone loss came to Jacksonville State.

South Alabama lost a trio of key pieces before the season either due to opting out or injuries. Deaundre Ballard and Howard Washington Jr. Ballard sat out last year after transferring from Florida. Howard Washington, a transfer from Syracuse, is also out for the Jaguars. Terence Lewis, an Iowa State transfer, is out due to a Torn ACL.

USA is led by senior guard Michael Flowers (#12) who is off to a really impressive start this season. Flowers is averaging 20.3 PPG while shooting 50% from 3-point range so far (13-26). He also had this ridiculous 3-pointer to beat Florida Atlantic.

Senior guard John Pettway (#50) is averaging 13.5 PPG and is shooting nearly 70% from the field so far this year.

Senior forward Kayo Goncalves (#4) is the leading big man for USA averaging 12.3 PPG and 6.3 RPG. He is 12-22 from 3-point range so far this year.

Sophomore guard Tyreke Locure (#3) is averaging 11.5 PPG and leads the team in rebounds at 7.8 RPG and steals (2.5 SPG).

Rounding out the starting 5 will be freshmen forward Jamal West (#25) who is averaging 7 PPG.

Keys for Auburn

Home Sweet Home.

It’ll be weird to not see the Jungle on top of the court this season but despite the 2 losses, there was quite a demand by students to be at this game.

Auburn is shooting just 26.7% from 3 so far in their first 3 games. It’ll be imperative for Auburn to find some 3-point shooting in the home gym tomorrow night.

Jamal Johnson comes into this game off a career night in Orlando as he scored a career high 18 points and made 5 of Auburn’s 7 3-pointers. Hopefully that’ll be a confidence builder for Jamal and he can start knocking down 3s on a more consistent basis.

Prediction

I’m excited to see the Tigers back in Auburn Arena tonight and hopefully the home crowd that is able to attend will make their presence felt. If the Tigers can get going from 3 early, I really like their chances to win big. But if they don’t get off to a good start, then I think this game will be close for 40 minutes. Auburn should win the game and I think they will, but I expect it to be closer than what some may want.

Auburn 78 South Alabama 70