Tigers Post Resume Building Win

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Tigers Post Resume Building Win


 Auburn was near the top of the SEC as they warmed up Wednesday night in Columbia Missouri. The Tigers trailed just one team: Florida, who was playing team from Columbia, S.C. at that exact moment. As Auburn and Missouri tipped off, the Gamecocks put Florida away and opened the door for Auburn to jump back on top of the SEC. 

To do that, they had to win a tough game against a very riled up crowd. That is no small task, even for a top-20 team like Auburn. In fact, the ESPN BPI had them listed as having only a 40  to win against the 13-6 Tigers. Vegas had Auburn as a 1.5 point underdog. Fans who hadn’t watched this team, or maybe only saw the marquee game against Alabama last week, may have understood why. Auburn just didn’t show up for a game against a team they should handle. Fans who have watched them all season were left scratching their heads and wondering if Vegas and ESPN knew something they did not. 

Out of the gate, Auburn had great energy, but shots kept falling for Missouri and every time Auburn looked to put Mizzu away, the other Tigers fought back. Auburn simply could not get up ten points, which seemed like the line in the sand. Of course, Auburn has rarely led at the half this season, frequently going on massive runs in the second half to close out teams. To do so, Auburn has to stay out of foul trouble, which is normally not a concern. Yet the whistles came very, very quickly and Mizzu was in the bonus less than half way through the first half and it wasn’t because they were forcing their way to rim and drawing fouls on shots. It was fouls away from the ball, offensive fouls, virtually any contact was being called and sometimes even when there wasn’t contact. Anfernee McLemore found his way in foul trouble early, spelling trouble for Auburn.

Still, Auburn held a decent lead at the half, though the nine point lead didn’t seem like much because Auburn wasn’t getting a lot of shots to fall. What Auburn was doing was forcing turnovers and blocking shots at critical times. Missouri would fight to within three, sometimes even one point, only to have a series of blocks and turnovers turn into Auburn points. 

Again, a lead coming out of the half isn’t something Auburn has experienced much. Consequently some Auburn fans felt wary about what that might mean, especially with a pumped up Missouri crowd. Auburn shut the door on Mizzou just half way into the second half after Missouri cut the game to one point. Auburn went on an incredible run that broke open the flood gates, both in terms of points and to the exits of the arena. Auburn led by as many as 17 and averaged around a 15 point lead for the majority of the second half, eventually completing a 91-73 a laugher as Patrick Keim Arena. 

Player of the game easily has to be Jared Harper for a flawless second half, in every sense of the word. Check out this second half bottom line from the diminutive point guard: 18 points, 4/4 FG, 3/3 3PT, 6/6 FT, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Haper single-handedly ended the Missouri Tigers chances at beating Auburn. Harper led all Auburn scorers and tied the games leading scorer with 21. Bryce Brown and Desean Murray added 16 apiece with Brown shooting 3-6 from beyond the arc while Murray was a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line. As if that wasn’t enough, Anfernee McLemore swatted six shots. The Auburn Tigers denied a total of nine shots. 

The 91 points pushed Auburn further ahead as the SEC’s top scoring unit thanks to terrific offensive rebounding and being fourth in the conference in three point shooting. However, the Tigers are doing something that all great teams must do, especially on the road: hit free-throws. Auburn is the best in the SEC, hitting 78 percent. 

Up next is an LSU team clinging to life (12-7 (3-4 SEC) desperately trying to right the ship. To do so, they have to come to The Jungle on a Saturday evening. It would be easy to label this a trap game and anything can happen, but this should be a raucous crowd and a team looking to get an extra game up on the SEC. ESPN gives LSU only a 17 percent chance to win. LSU has lost three of their last four games, thanks to a win against Texas A&M. However, they’ve won several tough road games, so don’t expect them to lay down for Auburn. 

Tremont Waters leads the Tigers with 15 points per game. The freshman guard from Connecticut will draw coverage from Bryce Brown. He isn’t a perimiter player but does well to get to the basket and make free throws where he averages 80 pecent of his attempts. The real showdown will be Anfernee McLemore on Duop Reath. Whereas McLemore is an undersized guard that has incredible athleticism, Reath is a 6-11 big man without much range. 

Tune in at 5PM on the SEC Network or head to the game. Catch me on Twitter @Best5Zach as I live tweet in game action. 

The post Tigers Post Resume Building Win appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

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