There’s nowhere to go but up for Auburn basketball after last Thursday’s overtime loss to Division II Barry.
While they’re trying to learn from that game, the Tigers have turned their full attention to Friday night’s regular season opener against Norfolk State.
“We’ve already moved past that,” junior guard Bryce Brown said. “We’ve put that in the back of our heads. We’re 0-0. We’re not looking at that loss. We’re looking to build from it. We got exposed a little bit. So we’re trying to learn from that game, defensively and offensively. We should be fine. We’re not worried.”
Auburn struggled on the defensive end against Barry, as the Buccaneers shot 50% from the floor and 39% from three-point range.
Multiple players noted that practices have been more competitive after that loss and that the regular season should bring improvement.
“We’ve been competing harder,” Brown said. “We’re trying to get our defense to translate into the game. We worked really hard this offseason on improving our defense, and we definitely have. In the game against Barry, it just wasn’t what we’ve been practicing. We’re definitely better than what we just displayed. You should see better in the future.”
Forward DeSean Murray will play his first game since 2015 Friday night after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. The Stanley, North Carolina, native played two years at Presbyterian College and was the Big South Conference Freshman of the Year after averaging 15.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in 2014.
He was even better as a sophomore, leading the Big South and ranking 29th nationally with 20.2 points per game in 2015.
Murray has two years of eligibility remaining and should see time at both small forward and power forward.
“It feels great to be on the court again,” Murray said. “It feels great to be a part of a team again and be able to use my time to help out the team.”
Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy, who were suspended for the exhibition game due to eligibility concerns, both practiced with the scout team Thursday.
“It’s good. I feel good about Austin [Wiley],” Brown said. “He looked like a beast out there. It would be really good if we can get him back.”