Basketball Suffers Bad Defeat to Barry University

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Basketball Suffers Bad Defeat to Barry University


With the numerous happenings around Auburn athletics, the exhibition game against Barry University, specifically the 105-95 loss to Barry, was a mere footnote.

Much of that can be attributed to the fact that the exhibition wasn’t covered by media in any fashion and the game itself required paying patrons, who were asked to cough up $10 to watch Auburn’s squad.

The loss was most likely overshadowed by the news that Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs would be stepping down within the next few months. 

Additionally, Auburn’s football team earned a solid win in College Station against a decent SEC West opponet and then made an appearance in the College Football Playoff Top Ten rankings. 

While the loss to Barry garnered a lot of ire from Auburn fans and laughs from sports fans of other teams, it was quickly dismissed. 

Should Auburn basketball fans be worried? Obviously, a loss wasn’t expected against a lesser team like Barry, especially when Auburn enters a season with nothing less than NCAA Tournament aspirations. Auburn was set to return some formidable players from last year’s squads that did make some progress, despite not achieving the success of the former team’s run in the SEC tournament. Add to a solid recruiting class that included add Chuma Okeke and the Tigers looked like the team fans have dreamed to see for the last 18 years since the departure of Chris Porter.

Instead, the expectations took a massive hit, and not because of the loss to Barry. No, Auburn’s expectations fell flat even before the basketball team took the court for the first competition of the year when the two announced players associated with the nasty FBI investigation which involved assistant coach Chuck Person were Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy. 

Wiley was Auburn’s best recruit in the last thirty years and Purifoy had become Auburn’s best over all player in the 2016-2017 season. Wiley exploded on the scene for Auburn in mid-December last season and helped transition Auburn from a live-or-die-by-the-three team to a more rounded team. Of course, the team struggled with that transition, losing the vast majority of their games down the stretch. Purifoy, in particular, never looked quite engaged late in the year. While it would be pure speculation on what, if anything, was going on behind the scene, his body language was bad and his play on the court deteriorated. 

Many players picked up the slack then, and they will be forced to do so again as Purifoy and Wiley are at-best liabilities and at worst, done playing at Auburn.

Will Coach Bruce Pearl be able to work magic? 

After all he was able to do with the 2015-2016 squad that made a deep run in the SEC Tournament with a hodge-podge team that didn’t even have a legitimate center or point guard. 

Make no mistake, Auburn has talent, even without Wiley or Purifoy and pressure is quickly building on Pearl, regardless of what the FBI may or may not find.

Fans that don’t know just how good Mustapha Heron is will get to know him real quick, as they will also get to see just how athletically gifted backup center Anfernee McLemore is. McLemore led Auburn with seven rebounds and two blocks on his 17 points. Heron led the scoring with 21. Point guard Jared Harper kicked in 20 on his own. Freshman phenom Chuma Okeke added nine points and seven boards. 

However, Auburn tried to win with the long ball again. While that works on many occasions, Auburn ran into a team that could do it even better. Auburn was a dreadful 3-13 while Barry knocked down 16 of their whopping 41 attempts. 

Auburn takes to the court on Friday when Norfolk State comes calling. Tip is at 7PM. There is no info on media coverage at this time. If there is, I will update. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @Best5Zach as I live tweet during most every basketball game.

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