Brown was as hot as the triple digit temperatures in Rome as he scored 20
points on six 3s as Anfernee McLemore had 18 points and Chuma Okeke and Jared
Harper both double-doubled as Auburn defeated BC Silute of Lithuania 103-87 to
remain perfect after two games of its Italian Tour in Comune di Ponte
Buggianese on Friday.
Danjel Purifoy added 14 points
and seven rebounds while Okeke notched 13 points, a game-high 11 rebounds and
two steals. Okeke, who had eight points and nine rebounds vs. Stella Azzurra in
the opener, is averaging a double-double with 10.5 points and 10.0 rebounds in
the two games.
Harper had 10 points and dished
out a game-high 10 assists to go along with a team-best three steals.
“I thought the intensity was
good,” said Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl. “I thought the travel got to us a
little bit more. All of the touring and being up on our feet a little bit, I
didn’t feel like we had our legs like we did the first night. This was a much
better team, Lithuania.”
Falling behind 8-3, Auburn tied
it for the first time at 13 on a Jared Harper jumper with 4:07 left
in the first period. The Tigers took their first lead at 17-16 on an Okeke
jumper and led 26-23 at the end of the opening 10-minute quarter.
“It felt really good,” said
Okeke. “I was really prepared for this game and had a good night’s sleep and a
good pregame meal. I felt like we came out and played hard and did what we were
supposed to do. That team was a real fundamentally-sound team with a lot of
Auburn scored the first seven
points of the second period, capped by back-to-back Brown 3s for a 36-24 lead
with 8:23 left in the half. Brown made all four 3-point
attempts in the first half and was 6-of-7 before missing his last three 3s.
“I was very hot,” said Brown.
“I was feeling good knowing my point guard had my back and kept hitting me in
the right places. Our chemistry is getting better, it’s showing that our
chemistry is getting better and better every game. We are going to continue to
build off of that.”
The Tigers outscored BC Silute
20-17 in the second quarter to hold a 46-39 halftime lead.
Back-to-back Brown 3s in a
20-second span made it 69-55 with 3:21 left in the third. Auburn
notched its highest scoring quarter on the tour outscoring BC Silute 31-22 for
a 77-61 lead after three periods.
The Tigers led 99-77 after a
McLemore 3-point play with 2:19 to go, and the bench emptied seconds
later. The Tigers had nine dunks in the game led by McLemore with four.
“It was a nice team effort, and
we shared the ball,” said McLemore, who was 7-of-9 from the field and had five
rebounds. “Overall, we played well together, ran our stuff and did what Coach
asked us to do.
“They were a nice team, who
played five guards at a time. It was a challenge for Horace, Chuma and me and
the other bigs to get out on the wing and defend a bit. It was a good learning
experience so I would rather do it now than have to do it in the fall.”
Mustapha Heron just missed a
double-double with nine points and nine rebounds while Desean Murray had eight
points and seven boards.
“This is just about learning,”
said Pearl. “This is about continuing to learn how to play together. I thought
Jared Harper did a really nice job with his unit making the extra pass with his
unit and finishing with a double-double with 10 assists.
“Bryce Brown offensively and
defensively played better. Surprisingly we scored more with the form of what we
do. We didn’t force the issue as much. I thought Chuma was really
strong tonight, being really solid on both ends. Anfernee played well.
When you score over 100 points, that’s really good. Defensively, we’ve been
playing better than that, and we need to.”
The Tigers shot 50 percent
(40-of-80) from the floor, 35 percent (7-of-20) from 3-point range and 69.6
percent (16-of-23) from the foul line.
Auburn, which defeated Stella
Azzurra 87-29 in Rome on Wednesday, will bus 170 miles to Treviso on
Thursday, stopping to tour the Ferrari Museum along the way. The Tigers play at
Veneto Select on Sunday at 12:30 pm in Montebelluna and
close out the tour vs. the Italy All-Stars in Costa Masnaga on
Monday at noon.