Auburn continued its solid play on the road, got yet another SEC win, and extending its winning streak as the Tigers dispatched South Carolina 81-66 in Columbia today.
Johni Broome had his best game of the season with 27 points and 11 rebounds, while Wendell Green added another double-double with 16 points and 12 assists. Allen Flanigan came close with 8 points and 10 rebounds. For South Carolina, G.G. Jackson showed why he was such a highly-rated prospect with 30 points in the loss.
While the Tigers shot 50% from the floor overall, they still struggled from downtown, and it didn’t matter. Auburn hit just 3-17 threes, but held South Carolina to just 36% shooting and dominated the paint 46-20.
The Tigers improve to 16-3 overall, 6-1 in the SEC, and set up a monster matchup with Texas A&M at Neville Arena on Wednesday night. The Aggies were previously undefeated until they lost to Kentucky this afternoon in Lexington.
Despite the fact that this game got down to a bit of a thrilling stretch with South Carolina erasing most of a 26-point lead, Auburn started fast and never really looked back. The Tigers hit their first four shots on the way to a quick 9-2 lead. The first two buckets of the game were dunks from Johni Broome, setting a trend for what we’d see the rest of the afternoon.
Right after the under-12 timeout, Yohan Traore hit a three-pointer to extend the advantage to 16-7 in favor of Auburn, and another dunk from Broome put Auburn at a 22-11 lead with 6:50 to play in the first half. While South Carolina cut the lead into single-digit territory over the next few minutes, Auburn exploded at the end of the half. A fastbreak dunk from Allen Flanigan and a last second bucket from Jaylin Williams pushed the lead to 39-22 at halftime.
After the break, the Tigers continued to pour it on. An alley-oop from Wendell Green to Johni Broome opened the second half, and Auburn built a 26-point lead at the 15:16 mark of the period. However, this was when South Carolina began to chip away at the lead. G.G. Jackson hit a few buckets, and then his three-pointer with 8:09 to play cut the lead to 10 points at 58-48.
South Carolina had transitioned into a 1-3-1 defense that stifled Auburn’s crisp passing from earlier in the game, and Bruce Pearl called a timeout to settle down his team at this point. Auburn’s defense stood tall and got fast break buckets on two of the ensuing possessions, and quickly the lead pushed back to 16 points, effectively ending the threat. South Carolina got the game back within 12 points, but that came in the final two minutes and the Tigers were solid at the foul line, winning 81-66.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
We predicted that Johni Broome would have a big game (and nearly nailed the final score as well), so he gets it. 27 points, 11 rebounds, and dunk after dunk against a completely overmatched team. Sure, Wendell Green had some ballistic passes that were just hilariously fun to watch, but Broome got us started and continued throughout the game.
Like we mentioned above, it’s Texas A&M this Wednesday night for an 8 pm CST/9 pm EST tip-off at Neville Arena. The Aggies’ perfect conference record was dashed in Lexington today, so it’ll be a pair of one-loss teams battling on the Plains.