It wasn’t the second half that Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin had expected after going into halftime with a three-point deficit.
And then the 3-pointers began to fall.
With a 92-58 win over Missouri Wednesday night, Auburn ended its three-game skid with the program’s largest margin of victory against an in-conference opponent in Auburn Arena. The home Tigers’ 41 attempts from three also mark the second-most attempts in program history.
Chuma Okeke, who finished with his fourth-straight game in double-digit scoring, noticed a different team from the last three games, too.
“Coming out the locker room, we came out with a lot of energy,” Okeke said. “The last few games, we weren’t coming out for the second half with a lot of energy, so we just tried to change that.”
Auburn finished the second half outscoring Missouri 58 to 27 while making 11 of 20 3-point attempts. In addition to the team’s late success from deep, Auburn would also score 28 points off of 20 Missouri turnovers.
Jared Harper finished with a game-high 16 points and five assists while Okeke had 14 points to finish a double-double with a career-high 12 rebounds. Bryce Brown finished the double-digit scoring trio with 14 points on 4-of-10 shooting from three.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
Despite the second-half burst, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl liked the shots his team had attempted in the first half while looking toward the final stretch of the season.
“I was happy with the shots we got, but to beat the best teams on our schedule, we have to make them,” Pearl said. “We’ve got to be able to play better than that.”
Pearl’s squad started the night 3-for-3 from three before going on a 0-for-12 drought. During the second half, however, eight different players would finish with a 3-pointer, including three who made two.
“Those three balls really got us going,” Okeke said.
Nine players would finish with five points or more for Auburn to complement 33 points from the bench, including eight from Danjel Purifoy, who finished 5-for-8 from the floor and 2-for-3 from deep.
After his first 3-pointer, Purifoy joined in on the barrage.
“Once I saw the first one go down, the second one I was just going to shoot regardless of whether [they were] guarding me or not,” Purifoy said.
Purifoy, who missed all of last season and the first nine games of this season, added that he was “almost back to [himself.]”
“It was great to have him out there,” Pearl said. “He did a nice job. It was great to have him back. We needed him.”
Missouri’s Jeremiah Tilmon, who was used early with the absence of Auburn’s Austin Wiley, finished with a team-high 15 points. Jordan Geist and Xavier Pinson added 11 each in addition to Torrence Watson’s 10.
In advance of a meeting at home against Alabama Saturday night, Purifoy’s goal was short.
“We’ve just got to beat them,” he said. “That’s all I’ve got.”
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman