Auburn Basketball at 13–0 Is One of Only Two Undefeated Teams in the Nation
Auburn Coach Bruce Pearl has his undefeated Tigers on a roll (photo: auburntigers.com)
Auburn basketball went into Mississippi State’s basketball arena Saturday and defeated the Bulldogs 80–68. It was no small victory because wins in Humphrey Coliseum are hard to come by. In fact, the Tigers only have two other road wins in Starkville since 2001.
To be sure it was a strong test for the No. 8 Tigers. With Guard Robert Woodard II at 6′ 7″, forward Reggie Perry at 6′ 10″ and forward Abdul Ado at 6′ 11,” the Bulldogs are the second-largest team in the country. Bruce Pearl called them a, “monster team” this week and said he fully expects State to be an NCAA Tourney team in the postseason.
It was a hard fought game for Auburn, especially in the first half, as the Tigers had to depend on defense to keep pace with the tall ‘Dogs (9–3). Auburn began the game shooting poorly, missing 22 of its first 25 shots to fall behind 18-9 and then misfiring on eleven straight 3-point attempts before storming back in the second half to secure the first SEC win of the season.
Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said, “Everybody contributed.” However, 78 of the 80 points were scored by the five starters as point guard J’Von McCormick led the way with a career-high 28 points followed by Isaac Okoro with16, Samir Doughty with 13, Danjel Purifoy with 11 and Austin Wiley with 10 points. McCormick’s 20 second half points were crucial, “He is leading our team [in every area],” said the coach. “We gave him the keys to the car and he drove it.”
The point guard told reporters after the game that beating Mississippi State, “..is big for us going into SEC. Coming out of here 1-0 knowing we were going to be faced with a challenge of everybody trying to take our heads off … it’s just good.”
Coach Pearl said his defense may have had an even bigger impact on the game, and the win marked the 25th victory for the Tigers in the last 26 games, dating back to last season. It was the 13th for this year, making Auburn one of only two undefeated teams in the nation.
Pearl’s Tigers will be back in Auburn Arena Wednesday to play Vanderbilt in the SEC home opener. If you’re in the area, come out and support the Tigers as they try to make it 14–0. War Eagle and …