Bryce Brown's dominant first half was the difference.
Brown contributed 20 points in the first half and finished the game with 22 points overall in Auburn's Wednesday win over Texas A&M on the road.
Before the half, Brown went scored 18 straight points for the Tigers offense, included three straight 3-pointers. He finished 5 of 11 from downtown.
“With 18 in a row, obviously we fed the hot hand,” Bruce Pearl said. “That had to be fun for Bryce. It was fun for us. His teammates were really good getting him the ball and that’s what he does. You see it in practice. If he can see it, he can make it.”
Brown and the rest of the Auburn offense has been struggling with some streaky outside shooting in past games toward the end of the nonconference slate. But the senior Brown has been efficient so far in conference play, now averaging 20 points per outing against Georgia, Ole Miss and Texas A&M.
The offense was well represented in College Station, but the Tigers' first true road victory of 2018-19 began with a focus on the other side of the ball.
“We wanted to come in and set the tone on defense,” Brown said of their game plan.
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The Tigers executed their defensive plan well by forcing turnovers and using their quick hands to get ahead on loose balls and fast breaks. The Aggies turned it over 15 times, and Auburn scored 18 points off those mistakes.
TJ Starks, the Aggies' leading scorer, finished with only six points in the game.
“We had to have all eyes on him at all times,” Brown said of Starks.
Auburn will take on No. 12 Kentucky at home in their next game and will need Brown to be an effective scorer again. Auburn will need a good balance of perimeter shooting and dominance inside the lane against the athletically gifted Wildcats.
The Tigers play confidently in their home arena, having won 24 of their last 25 in the building. Tip against UK is set for 3 p.m. CST.
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