Tigers Back on Track
Bryce Brown scored 28 points to lead Tigers over Georgia (photo: Julie Bennett / al.com)
Make no mistake, the defeat by Bama last Tuesday was disheartening. Auburn was riding the nation’s longest winning streak and playing a Bama team missing one of the SEC’s best players. They dropped the contest in Coleman Coliseum and did so in a messy affair that made the Tigers look the part of one of the nation’s youngest teams.
On Saturday the Tigers welcomed their other traditional rival, the Georgia Bulldogs (12–6, 3–4) into Auburn Arena to play in front of a packed house. Early in the game, the fans were treated to much the same show that they saw early in the week. The Tigers couldn’t buy a bucket, and UGA jumped on Auburn and led by as many as 16 points just before half. And, the Dogs did it with Auburn limiting senior forward Yante Maten to just a pair of buckets, a solid feat against a player who averages nearly 20 points a contest.
However, just as the Tigers have done multiple times this season, Auburn showed that it is a second-half adjustment team that goes on can’t-miss streaks.
Auburn erased Georgia’s 14-point halftime lead and rolled to a 14-point win as Bryce Brown piled up 28 points on 5–9 three-point shooting, including a critical three-point play on a steal. It was Mustpha Heron’s steal, dish to Jared Harper, and then a no-look feed on the baseline back to Heron, who tomahawked it home to finally take the lead 43–41. The Jungle went absolutely bonkers, and Auburn rolled. Heron bounced back in a big way from perhaps his worst game against Bama to kick in 14 points.
Perhaps the biggest return was Anfernee McLemore, who after struggling the last few games to be relevant, was up to his old blocklemore ways, adding three more swats for the Tigers. That puts the young player up to 55 total for the year, ranking him 14th in the nation. He also kicked in ten points and a steal. Jared Harper did the remainder of the damage with thirteen points, making him the fourth player in double figures.
The Tigers hit an astounding 21 of 23 free-throws while hitting nearly 40 percent of the long balls. Offensive rebounds remain huge for second attempts, and the Tigers grabbed nine.
After a poor first half showing Yante Maten led the Dogs in defeat and ended up with 17 points. The Tigers took a 79–65 win.
Missouri is up next for Auburn. The Tigers on Tigers matchup goes down in Mizzou Arena on Wednesday. Missouri is 13–6 overall and 3–3 in conference play. The black and gold Tigers are coming off a thumper of a loss to Texas A&M just days after a great win against 23rd ranked Tennessee. Yet the ESPN Matchup Predictor gives Mizzou a 60 percent chance to win the game against the 14th ranked Auburn Tigers.
Mizzou is led by a tandem of players in Kassius Robertson and Jordan Barnett, who are good for 15 and 14 points per game. Both of the seniors hit over 40 percent of their long balls and Barnett, the forward, hits 90 percent of his free throws, so Auburn can’t afford to put either him or Robertson, who hits over 80 percent, on the line.
This game will be played at 8:00 PM central on the SEC Network. Make sure to follow me as I live tweet game action @Best5Zach.