Jumping out to a 15-2 lead in the first five minutes, it was rinse and repeat for No. 19 Auburn who followed Friday’s 46-point win with a 91-62 win over Colgate on Monday in the second regional game of the Legends Classic.
The Tigers won the two regional games at Auburn Arena by a combined score of 207-132 and are now 5-0 to start the season for the first time since 2004-05.
“That was a really good first half – really, really, special basketball,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. “We played fast, we shot it, we spread it, executed, got after them really hard and just suffocated them. We didn't give a good team a chance.”
Just like Friday, it was senior Samir Doughty who scored the first basket of the game and who finished with a game-high 20 points. The highlight for Doughty came in the first half when he crossed his defender (who fell down), stepped back and drained a 3-pointer. It was the first of two Auburn plays worthy of Sportscenter’s Top 10.
“I originally wasn’t going to shoot the ball until I saw him fall,” Doughty said. “I just stepped back and shot it. I didn’t expect him to fall like that. I knew the shot was going in.”
The second highlight came early in the second half when freshman Isaac Okoro drove down the lane and threw down a monstrous two-handed slam, posterizing one of the Colgate defenders.
Okoro finished with 11 points and has now scored in double figures in all five games to start his Auburn career. He also put the exclamation on the first half with an alley-oop dunk from J’Von McCormick with one second remaining to give the Tigers a 53-21 lead at the intermission.
As a team, Auburn had five players score 11 or more points Monday’s victory.
“We have a great team,” Doughty said. “It’s not just surrounded by me, Isaac or J’Von. Anybody can go off. We know that anybody is capable of coming out and playing great. Some nights I might be in single digits, and we still have five other players in double digits. It’s really a team effort all-around. It can be like this every single night.”
McCormick didn’t quite match the single-game assist record he set Friday with 16, but the senior was active once again on the offensive end with 14 points and a team-best eight assists. He now has 24 assists to just three turnovers over the last two games.
The Tigers also won the rebounding battle yet again thanks in large part to senior big man Austin Wiley who recorded his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Fellow senior Danjel Purifoy made it five Auburn players in double figures with 11 points on 4 of 6 shooting. Nine of those 11 points came in the first half as he was 3 of 4 from long range in the first 20 minutes, including two 3s in the first two-and-a-half minutes.
The Tigers shot a blistering 62 percent from the field in that first half and finished the game at 53 percent, making 35 of the 66 shots they attempted.
“I thought the ball movement was great (in the first half),” Pearl said. “The spacing was great. The understanding was really good. Timing was good. The guys were having fun and making good reads. It was an outstanding 20 minutes.”
After playing five games in 13 days, Auburn will get a week off before traveling to New York to compete in the Legends Classic. The first-round game against New Mexico is scheduled to tip at 8:30 p.m. CT next Monday and will be televised on ESPNEWS.
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