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Auburn Looks To Turn Things Around At Home

By on January 18th, 2017 in Basketball, News 23 Comments »
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USA TODAY Sports

Auburn is heading back home to take on LSU in what is a must-win matchup for Bruce Pearl’s squad. Sitting at 1–4 in the conference, another loss tonight would put Auburn in quite a hole with the bulk of conference play still to come. 

Danjel Purifoy looks to be doubtful tonight, as the freshman forward is still nursing an ankle injury. 

“He’s progressed really really well,” Bruce Pearl said during a Tuesday press conference. “He’s actually shooting today a little bit, but he will not practice and I would say he’s doubtful for the game. But I don’t know, I haven’t talked to the trainer yet. He’s getting closer.”

This LSU team is not the same as the one that began the season. Just before SEC play began, the Bayou Bengals dismissed their star power forward, Craig Victor. Coach Pearl pointed out the similarities between LSU and Auburn in the sense that both teams have been forced to change their lineups constantly throughout the season.

“They’ve had some personnel changes that, kind of like us, they’ve had to evolve a little bit. I know their starting power forward was dismissed before the SEC season, so as a result, they’re actually playing two 6–10 guys together a lot, and they’re pretty good. They’re really effective together.”

The combination of Duop Reath and Aaron Epps will prove to be a test for an Auburn team that, even with newcomer Austin Wiley, still lacks height in the front court.

A string of wins starting tonight and continuing through to the South Carolina game next week would certainly be a morale booster for an Auburn team that is in dire need of one. Thus far in conference play, Auburn is 0–2 at home with losses to Georgia and Ole Miss—both of which were very winnable.

If Auburn wants any chance at reaching a postseason tournament, it will be crucial to string together a couple of wins at home this week.

The Tigers will battle it out tonight at 7:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.

Update:
Tigers beat LSU 78–74 to give Coach Bruce Pearl his 500th career win.

23 Comments

  1. GreenvilleAUfan GreenvilleAUfan says:

    Not enough height on this squad but a lot of talent and a lot of fight. Hopefully that will get them enough W's to make the Tourney or at least the NIT. Will need to start that tonight.

  2. jbellison56 says:

    i think tonight depends a lot on Dunans having a big game and if Auburn can win this one it could give them some confidence/momentum for rest of SEC schedule.

  3. Tigerpharm says:

    It’s time that Auburn basketball returns to some relevance. I don’t know what the answer is and I like coach Pearl but being 1-4 in SEC play in his third year is disappointing.

    But I’m still hoping it turns around THIS YEAR.

  4. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    I really like Coach Pearl, but he doesn't put enough emphasis on defense with this team. We have tons of talent but I don't think its being utilized properly. Pearl seems to want to have as many scorers on the court as possible at all times, and as a result we don't have anybody under the basket getting rebounds.

    I like the fight the guys had in the Kentucky game, but it looked to me like they knew they had no chance, so they played hard and loose. If they can do that against the rest of the SEC, we should win a majority of remainder of those games. The problem is they don't do that when they play teams they are supposed to compete with, they play very tight and make a lot of errors in transition.

    Teams with a big front court really give us trouble since we don't rebound well and I suspect LSU will capitalize on that tonight. So unless we are hot beyond the arc, I expect another disappointing loss.

    This team is still too in love with coming down the court and launching a three 8 seconds into the possession. Thats crazy. They need to try and get the ball into Wiley first, or try slashing into the paint with Heron or Dunnans to open up some passing lanes or get a lay up. If that doesn't work pump it back to Harper to try a three.

    Too often we just see 3-4 guys on the perimeter looking to take a low percentage AND CONTESTED shot. Draw the defense into the paint and THEN try your 3's guys! We are very predictable in that regard. I'm sure Coach Pearl is trying to get them to do that, but the problem with having so many talented players is they are all trying to make a "SPLASH" while they are on the court. The problem is there is only one ball to go around.

    I think Pearl's biggest challenge is going to find a way to get all these 4* players to accept some roles and play as a team, not a collection of superstars looking to make ESPN Top Plays.
    Oh, and try and play some defense, PLEASE!

  5. WarEagleinKC says:

    Starting lineup needs to be:

    Harper / Brown / Heron / Spencer / Wiley.

    And Waddell should never see the court.

    How does Pearl not understand this? Is he still punishing Brown and Spencer for their arrest? I think it has been long enough, and every AU fan who understand bball, knows Spencer is one of our best players. He needs to be on the court as much as possible.

    Brown has had an off year so far on the offensive side, but the last couple of games there has been signs of life. Maybe he's out of the shooting slump, and he is probably our best perimeter defender.

    If we continue to lose with our best talent on the floor, so be it. But watching us lose games while our best players are on the bench drives me insane.

    If we win these next two games, we will have a winning season and maybe a chance at the NIT. Lose both and…….well. Don't!

  6. Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

    One thing is for sure, we bring out the best in every team we play. They can’t seem to miss.

  7. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Finally in my chair! It was sounding dire, in the car on the way home. LSU was up by 11. Auburn has pulled back, and trails 28-24, with 4:48 left in the half.

  8. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Tigers TAKE the lead on a 3 on 1 putback dunk! 29-28!

  9. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Wiley to the line, Tigers on an 11-0 run. Drains the first, and rattles in the second! 33-28 Auburn, clock under two minutes in the half.

  10. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..LSU has become a turnover machine. And Auburn having trouble converting shots in the lane, Heron missed a dunk on the last possession.

  11. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..At the half, Auburn 35, LSU 32. Auburn outscored LSU 20-6, down the stretch of this one.

  12. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Double digits. Horace Spencer hits a pair of free throws, and Auburn leads, 46-36!

  13. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Steal Dunk!!!!! Dunnans! 12 point lead!

  14. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …And another, by Heron! He’s fouled shooting, and will go to the line. Auburn threatening to blow this game open!

  15. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..BANG! Brown hits a 3, 54-40 Auburn, 12:39 left in the game.

  16. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Auburn is trying to derp this game away. LSU has closed to 3, 68-65, with 3:22 left. And Auburn uncharacteristically doesn’t beat the shot clock.

  17. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Auburn gets a call, but I think they are reviewing. Tigers lead, 73-68, with 1:18 left in the game. Frankly, I think possession should go to LSU.

  18. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Horace Spencer gets behind the press, and dunks! And will bag the first free throw, and rebound the miss… and Auburn wins! 78-74!

  19. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..LSU did us a lot of favors with sloppy ball handling and some silly fouls. But, a win is a win, and the Tigers did it at home!

  20. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..It has been a while since I got to watch. If I had been sure I was going to get to see the whole game, I might have set up a thread. As it was, I’m at home after working 14 hours, and skipping lunch. And I’m trying to do way too much with a tired brain…