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Auburn Suffers Worst Loss Of the Season

By on January 25th, 2017 in Basketball, News 8 Comments »
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USA TODAY Sports

It was a rough outing for an Auburn team that was forced to play catch-up for most of the night, as the Tigers were ousted by the Gamecocks, 98–69. Last night marked Auburn’s worst loss to South Carolina in program history, and the Gamecocks’ 98 points were the second most they have ever scored in SEC play. 

Frank Martin’s squad has one of the best defenses in the nation, but a strong shooting performance is what won his team the game. The Tigers’ perimeter defense was woeful and prevented any possibility of a comeback run, as USC hit 15-of-26 from three-point range and beat Auburn in nearly every offensive category in the box score. 

Danjel Purifoy played his worst game of the year and was terrible on both ends of the court. On defense, he was only able to muster up a late hand to the face on Gamecock shooters, resulting in plenty of made three’s for the opposition. And on offense, the freshman guard was a nonfactor, scoring zero points in 24 minutes of play. Typically this season, a strong offensive showing has made up for Purifoy’s apparent lack of effort on defense, but last night certainly did not follow that same trend. 

The lone high point of the game came from Austin Wiley. The young center was able to reach a milestone by delivering the first double-double performance of his college career. Wiley scored 10 points while grabbing 11 rebounds in last night’s game. I continue to be impressed by how well the young, big man has transitioned to the next level, especially when considering the fact that Wiley is essentially still a high school senior. 

South Carolina is a very good basketball team—there is no doubt about that now. Auburn lost to a tournament team last night, but there is zero excuse for this type of performance against any opponent. When Purifoy is eliminated as a shooting threat, the Tigers’ shooting numbers plummet. Against South Carolina, Auburn shot just 21-for-59 from the field and an abysmal 3-for-21 from three-point range. Combine poor shooting with low effort on defense, and the result will be disastrous every time. 

Auburn’s next game is Saturday against TCU as a part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The Horned Frogs have only lost two games at home this season—both of which were to top-5 teams. And for a team that consistently plays stronger competition in a tougher conference, TCU will give Auburn quite the test in Fort Worth this weekend, and a win for the Tigers looks highly unlikely. 

Things were looking up for Bruce Pearl and Co. coming into Tuesday night’s game. Can Auburn get its momentum back by stringing together a few wins? This team is showing its youth with inconsistent play, which means time and patience can only benefit Auburn in the long run.

It’s a process, one that doesn’t happen overnight. I cannot stress that enough.

8 Comments

  1. GreenvilleAUfan GreenvilleAUfan says:

    S.C. gave AU a lesson on defense they out defensed Tigers all night and Purifoy was abused. He showed he's still got some growing to do. Hope this was a lesson that will help the whole team get better.

  2. Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

    Agreed on all fronts. USC was faster on the floor but it was all effort.

  3. audude audude says:

    Thanks for the write up Zach.

    Well put GreenvilleAUfan. Let’s not forget Purifoy is coming off an injury as well. Still goes that they need to learn and continue to move forward. Hopefully the TCU game will be the rebound in effort and shooting.

    WDE

    • GreenvilleAUfan GreenvilleAUfan says:

      Appreciate it Dude and I know it says a lot about Purifoy to be playing after an ankle injury. TCU will be a strong test.

      BTW, this article was by Cole Locascio.

  4. tigrrr tigrrr says:

    Being an Auburn fan is like eating a pecan, you never know what you will will get until you crack it. You may get the sweet nut, or you may get the bitter inner shell.

  5. SEC_Eric SEC_Eric says:

    Youth lends itself to inconsistency. This team will probably be at it’s best toward the end of the year; so NCAA may not happen till 2018.

  6. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    ……It was tough to watch. South Carolina started the game leading 9-0, and the game was essentially over before anyone’s seat got warm.