On Tuesday, Auburn defeated Appalachian State 67-53, extending the Tigers' non-conference winning streak to 33 in a row.
“We’re not a household name in the SEC nor do we deserve to be,” said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl. “But we’re also not a one-trick pony. It wasn’t just the Final Four team. This team did what they needed to do. Part of the non-conference is preparing for the league. Ready or not, here it comes.”
The Tigers' 12-0 run with nine minutes remaining helped them pull away from the Mountaineers.
Auburn was led in scoring by sophomore Jaylin Williams, who scored 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Jamal Johnson dropped in 14 points, and Allen Flanigan scored 13 and led both teams in assists with six. Freshman Justin Powell had nine points and a game-high eight rebounds.
“I thought Jamal Johnson was terrific,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “Played great defensively, made some shots, had a great tempo to his game. We were better with him on the floor.”
Led by Powell’s eight, Auburn outrebounded Appalachian State by 17 boards as the Tigers grabbed 38 rebounds in the contest.
Auburn found themselves in an early 9-0 deficit, but Williams' 3-pointer stopped the Tiger’s almost six-minute scoring drought.
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The Tigers were 8-of-19 from beyond the arc in the first half. Johnson hit three 3-pointers in the first half and added a four-point play for good measure to lead the Tiger’s first-half scoring with 10 points.
Johnson’s first 3-pointer gave Auburn its first lead at 14-13, and Williams ended the first half with a triple that sent the Tigers to the locker room up 34-31.
“We didn’t get off to a very good start,” Pearl said. “They rallied. The bench made a huge difference for us tonight.”
Auburn's victory gives them a 53-7 record in non-conference play over the past five seasons, which is the best record in the SEC since 2016-17.
“We got a great win today,” Johnson said. “When we come back, we’re going to be ready to focus more on Arkansas. When we come back, we’re going to be laser-focused on them. Right now, we’re going to take some days off and enjoy family time, but when we get back we’re going to be ready, so we can be a team to look out for in the SEC.”
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