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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn dominates Samford in largest win under Harris

<p>Nov. 21, 2021; Auburn head coach Johnnie Harris smiles during a game against Georgia Tech from McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta.</p>

Nov. 21, 2021; Auburn head coach Johnnie Harris smiles during a game against Georgia Tech from McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta.

The Tigers took on the Samford Bulldogs Sunday afternoon, winning 91-37 to extend their home game win streak to six. The Tigers are now 9-2. 

This 54-point victory is the largest margin of victory in the coach Johnnie Harris era, Auburn's largest margin of victory since a 199-54 victory over Sam Houston in the 2008-2009 season.

It seems comeback kid, junior Romi Levy — who was out with an injury last season — has found a spot on Auburn’s starting lineup starting the last four games, as well as against Samford. Levy finished the game with 13 points, seven rebounds, and five steals. 

“Personally, when I play good defense, offense is just coming to me,” Levy said. We just had the energy, we play together, and we have the chemistry once it all comes together it’s so much fun to just play on the court and be there with everyone.” 

Offensively, the Tigers made an all-team effort with 11 Tigers scoring and every player finishing with at least four points. Redshirt senior Honesty Scott-Grayson led the pack with 14. Auburn had 50 points off turnovers and 34 points in the paint with a scoring percentage of 52.6%. The Auburn bench came in clutch with 45 points collectively. 

“The good thing about this team is they don’t care who scores,” Harris said. “They’re not being selfish, they share the ball, they share each other’s success and it’s just a different vibe.”

The Auburn defense was on fire, forcing a total of 36 turnovers and had 24 steals, tying the school record set in 2001 against Tennessee State and matched in 2015 against East Carolina. There were five Tigers that had three or more steals. 

“Coach Fred (Williams) changed our scheme a little bit. He put Romi on the ball and we were trapping from different areas," Harris said. "We just felt like we could get them to play fast, speed them up and do things that they didn’t look comfortable doing. I thought that was the key to the game.”

Levy started the scoring off with layup in the paint assisted by sophomore Mar’shaun Bostic, setting the Tigers up for early success. The Tigers' defense stepped up early with a full court press to force four Samford turnovers in the first three minutes. The Bulldogs had no response to Auburn’s press, allowing the Tigers to obtain an early lead that they would hold for the rest of the game. 

In the second quarter, the Tigers offense took over, scoring 31 points in the second quarter alone. Levy and Scott-Grayson led the scoring with 9 and 7 for the quarter. While the offense thrived, the Tigers fought just as hard on the defensive side, forcing 12 Samford turnovers in the quarter for a total of 22 for the half. Auburn took a dominant lead of 47-11 to end the half. 

Bostic opened up the second half with a three-point jumper followed by a second chance layup from freshmen Mya Pratcher. The Auburn bench showed up in the third quarter, scoring 17 of the 27 points from the Tiger offense. 

In the fourth quarter, the Tigers established their win with seven Tigers scoring in the final frame as they crossed the finish line. 

“I think the sky’s the limit for this team. I think the more they buy in, the more they understand what we want. Early in the season they were kind of fighting us on it," Harris said. "But I think now they see that it works so they’re buying in more”

Up next, Auburn is back in Neville Arena to host North Florida on Tuesday, Dec. 20. Tip-off is set for noon CST. 

Alexa Gardner | Sports Writer

Alexa Gardner is a junior at Auburn, majoring in exercise science. From Birmingham, Alabama, she started with The Plainsman in fall 2022.

Twitter: @alexagardner_

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