On Wednesday night against Arkansas, the Auburn offense showcased impressive proficiency after lackluster performances in its last two games by scoring 79 points, 45 of which came in the first half.
In a dominating 79-56 victory, the Tigers offense drained 17 3-pointers from seven different players, including an impressive performance by Malik Dunbar, who starred in just his fourth career game as a starter, scoring eight of Auburn’s first 17 points. He also slammed down an alley-oop dunk from Jared Harper to put the Tigers up 19-1.
Dunbar finished with eight points, five rebounds and three assists while also showing dominance on the defensive side of the ball with two blocks in 22 minutes.
In his first start since Auburn's home win against Alabama over a year ago, Dunbar was happy with his performance.
“It was good.” Dunbar said. “I just tried to worry about defense. I try to be in the right spots so the offense comes to me.”
Head coach Bruce Pearl was also pleased with Dunbar, who was filling in for Samir Doughty at small forward.
"I thought he handled it well," Pearl said. "We’ll watch the film and break it down a little bit and make sure he’s a little more alert defensively to start. But I thought he did very well and I thought the team responded to that.”
After starting Auburn’s first 25 games of the season, Samir Doughty was on the bench to start the contest due to an injured foot. After logging 16 minutes against Vanderbilt, Doughty saw a slight increase in playing time with 21 minutes against Arkansas, despite the injury.
During that time, Doughty recorded six points, four rebounds, and two assists while showcasing his usual defensive skills with two steals, performing well in an unfamiliar role by coming off the bench and proving that he is capable of being a supportive — he stood up and cheered on the bench every time Dunbar scored during the early run — and effective player even as he recovers from the injury.
The Tigers also boasted a dominant defensive performance, holding Arkansas to just 26.7 percent shooting and 20 points at halftime, both of which were season lows for the Razorbacks.
Auburn’s offensive rejuvenation comes at a crucial time as the Tigers will face No. 4 Kentucky in Rupp Arena in their next game, set for 12:30 p.m. CST on Saturday.
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